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School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment


Environmental Risks and Hazards

Environmental risks and hazards come in multiple forms, from climate perturbations to floods to pollutants and so on. Both the determination of the actual risk of a particular hazard and development of means to mitigate the risk or hazard are crucial. Faculty are involved in research in areas including mine reclamation, flood hydrology, coastal zone management, drought mitigation, radioactive and other contaminants. Approaches range from geophysical through biological to cultural and social analyses.

Environmental Risks & Hazards Faculty

Monica Barra

Monica Barra

Monica Barra completed her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from the Graduate Center at the City University of New York in 2018. Additionally, she holds a masters degree in American Studies from Rutgers University and a bachelors degree in Urban Studies and Literature from the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies at the University of Redlands. Monica joined the University of South Carolina in 2018 as an assistant professor in the area of Race and Environment at the School of the Earth, Ocean, and Environment with a joint appointment in the Department of Anthropology.

Gwendelyn Geidel

Gwendelyn Geidel

Prediction, prevention and remediation of ground and surface water contamination caused by mining and other anthropogenic disturbances of the earth’s surface. Examples include investigations of rock-water interactions from mining activities (including both coal and metal mining in the US and Canada), the degradation of water quality from the oxidation of sulfide minerals, laboratory evaluation of acid and alkaline potentials from rock strata, field investigations of the long term effects of mining, and the implementation at field sites of constructed wetlands, anoxic limestone drains, alkaline trenches and other remediation and reclamation technologies.

Dean Hardy

Dean Hardy

Dean holds his Ph.D. in Integrative Conservation and Geography, M.S. in Ecology, and B.S. in Marine Sciences. As a broadly trained geographer, he applies an integrative approach to work across multiple ways of knowing socio-environmental challenges. He draws on political ecology, hazards geography, environmental justice studies, and critical race theory to examine landscapes as socio-natural assemblages.

David Kneas

David Kneas

David’s research examines the history and contemporary articulations of Andean landscapes, in particular, how past discursive landscapes shape the material geographies of the present, and vice-versa. His current book project is a historical ethnography of an ongoing conflict over a proposed copper mining in northwestern Ecuador. This project draws on his doctoral dissertation, research that combined two years of two ethnographic fieldwork and archival research in Ecuador with David’s own experience of working in the country since 2000, as well as archival research in the US and the UK.

Dwayne Porter

Dwayne Porter

Dr. Porter’s research interests include exploring and expanding the increasingly important roles that technology and technological innovations play in monitoring, assessing, modeling and managing our coastal environmental resources and associated environmental and public health issues. Dr. Porter focuses on the use of the tools of Geographic Information Sciences (GISciences) to develop and apply spatial models to study the impacts of anthropogenic and physiographic influences to coastal resources. 

Scott White

Scott White

Most of the Earth's surface is hidden underwater, from the deep seafloor to wetland environments. Revealing the patterns and processes in these marine environments is the overarching theme of Scott's research group in marine geology and geophysics.