Department of Environmental Science and Policy

Student Research Opportunities

  • ESP believes that undergraduate research is critical to promoting discovery, learning, and practical application to improve environmental quality and sustainability.
  • Our faculty are active researchers providing many opportunities for students through fellowships, paid research positions, work study, research practicum for credit, and volunteering.
  • Most of our mid- and upper-level courses are designed to focus on timely research questions designed to developed student skills in practical problem solving.
  • Our students are active participants in presenting research posters at USM's annual Thinking Matters Conference, the annual Maine Water Conference, and other conferences.
  • We do not just teach science, policy and planning, we study it with our students!


What Are Our Students Researching?

Recent Research Projects by Department of Environmental Science Undergraduates:

  • Biomonitoring of Heavy Metals in the Tidal Kennebec River System Using Blue Mussels (Mytilus edulis)
  • School Children’s Exposure to Diesel Exhaust from Buses
  • Waste Reduction and Energy Conservation: Paper Towels vs. Hand Dryers
  • Phytoremediation in Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica)
  • Assessing Marine-Freshwater Food Web Linkages Using Stable Isotopes
  • Policy Analysis: Reducing Mercury Exposure to Loons in Maine
  • Morphometric and Toxicological Analysis of Indoor Air Particulates in Maine Wood-Burning Homes
  • Portland’s Historical Industrial Activities as Contributors to Current Lead Levels
  • Delineation of Urban Stream Watersheds using GIS: Drainage Area and Contaminants in South Central Maine
  • Ecological and Social Constraints on Ecological Restoration Potential: A case study of the Presumpscot River
  • Fall Webworm (Hyphantria cunea) Herbivory in the Otter Ponds Wilderness Area, Standish, Maine.
  • Disposable Shopping Bags: A Natural Resource and Socioeconomic Problem
  • Influence of Plant Biomass Transfers Between Wetlands and Streams on Nitrate and Phosphorus Concentrations
  • Effects of Abiotic and Biotic Factors on Zooplankton Abundance and Size in Six Maine Lakes
  • Bioenergetics Modeling of Atlantic cod, Gadus morhua, in the Kennebec/Androscoggin Nearshore Marine System
  • Amphipods (Gammarus) Feeding Preferences for Local Leaf Species
  • Adaptive Reuse of a Landfill Site

Student/Faculty Research Publications:

The following are highlights of student authors with peer-reviewed journal publications (authors in bold were undergraduate students):

Hardy, A and S.J. Langley-Turnbaugh. 2012. Soil Trace Element Concentrations on a Historic Maine Island. Soil Horizons 53: 31-37.

Lane, G.W.S., & Wagner, T.P. 2013. Examining recycling container attributes and household recycling practices. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 75:32-40.

Yeo, W. and S.J. Langley-Turnbaugh. 2010. Trace Element Deposition on Mount Everest. Soil Survey Horizons 51(3): 72-78.

Alley, D., S.J. Langley-Turnbaugh, N. Gordon, J. Wise, G. Van Epps, and A. Jalbert. 2009. The Effect of PM10 on human lung fibroblasts. Toxicology and Industrial Health 25:111-120.

Langley-Turnbaugh, S.J., M. Banaitis, and A. Aboueissa. 2007. Variations of Soil Organic Carbon in Three Urban Parks: A Maine Case Study. International Journal of Applied Environmental Science 2:119-128.

Langley-Turnbaugh, S.J. and L. Hathaway. 2007. Getting the Lead Out: Phytoremediation in a Maine Community Garden. Community Gardener 6(2): 7-12.