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School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment


Sustainability is a broad field, which includes environmental, economic and social sustainability. These include the ability to maintain renewable and non-renewable natural resources (natural capital) within some bounds, to maintain economic prosperity, and to maintain social and cultural institutions and practices. Faculty are actively involved in all these areas, including adaptation to environmental change.

Sustainability Faculty


Jessica Barnes

Dr. Barnes received her Ph.D. in sustainable development from Columbia University in 2010 and held a postdoctoral fellowship with the Yale Climate & Energy Institute and Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies from 2011 to 2013. She joined the University of South Carolina in 2013 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography with a joint appointment in the School of the Earth, Ocean & Environment.

David Fuente

David Fuente

Dr. Fuente's research is situated at the intersection of infrastructure planning, environmental policy, and international development and focuses specifically on the provision of water and sanitaiton services in low- and middle-income countries. Trained as an environmental economist, urban planner, and environmental scientist, Dr. Fuente has conducted extensive fieldwork in East Africa (Kenya), the Middle East (Egypt), and South Asia (India). His research has been supported by the World Bank, USAID, the SIDA-funded Environment for Development Initiative, and the Global Development Network.


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.


Conor M. Harrison

Dr. Harrison’s research examines the relationship between energy and society, with a particular focus on political economy and power relations.  Portions of his work have been published in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Geoforum, and Local Environment. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Center for Study of the American South, and the University of North Carolina.

W. Joe

W. Joe Jones

Past Director of the UofSC Genomics facility, Joe Jones's research has focused on conservation genetics, genetic connectivity, and  genetics of rare populations (especially in fish and plankton); molecular phylogenetics and ecology, microbial ecology, natural history, and technology development.  As the Faculty Principal of Green Quad, his most recent work connects this expertise to undergraduate and graduate hands-on learning experiences in aquaponics and heritage landrace propogation.


Thomas Lekan

Professor Lekan teaches specialized undergraduate courses and seminars on environmental history, the urban experience in modern Europe, and German social history. His research focuses on European environmental history and the global dimensions of nature conservation, ecotourism, and green imperialism; comparative urban and regional planning history; and the environmental humanities.  


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. 


Jennifer R. Pournelle

Millennial-scale urban sustainability and complex societies, studied through: landscape archaeology, anthropological archaeology, archaeology of the Middle East, cultural ecology, historical ecology, as they relate to wetland environments. Interpreting and relating air photography and satellite imagery to other paleoenvironmental data, toward reconstructing past landscapes.


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.