Research in environmental geography at UNA is focused on understanding the surficial environment with a goal to link spatial patterns and processes. Research spans the fields of biogeography, climatology, and geomorphology. We work at multiple spatial and temporal scales and in a number of world regions.


  • Mechanisms and spatial patterns of macrophyte invasions
  • Spatial patterns of catastrophic weather warnings across the United States


For more than 20 years, faculty members have been involved in state-wide K-12 outreach, research, and education activities. Partnering with the Alabama Geographic Alliance (AGA) and funded through the National Geographic Society and the Alabama State Department of Education, the department has sponsored 1-3 week geography institutes, geography technology institutes and numerous in-service programs for K-12 teachers. In 2007, UNA became the host institution for the AGA.  All faculty are involved in this research.


  • Alliance Strategic Planning (2010 - 2011)
  • In-Service or Pre-Service Professional Development Workshops
  • Geography Action and Geography Awareness Week
  • My Wonderful World Public Awareness Campaign with National Geographic Society


Geospatial techniques are used in almost all research endeavors. In particular, the areas of disaster recovery analysis using remotely sensed data, participatory GIS in Africa, electrical resistance analysis of glaciers, and invasive species mapping. In addition, Latin American urban land use using GPS, GIS, and field research has been conducted in Costa Rica, as combined projects with faculty and students. Research spans urban, physical and nature-society interactions.


Human Geography explores the spatial aspects of human life. Patterns of economic activity, political action, and cultural life all fall within the realm of human geography. Geography faculty at UNA are currently investigating such diverse topics as identity theft in United States counties; the use of participatory Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in Kenya and Alabama; sovereign wealth funds and economic development in Oceania, Alaska, Canada, and Europe; tourism issues in a variety of regions; and peri-urban development in Costa Rica. Study areas include Costa Rica, Peru, Kenya, southern Alabama, and Alaska. Affiliated faculty members are Drs. Keys-Mathews, Koti, and Pretes.


  • Participatory GIS and African Urbanization (Dr. Koti)
  • Regional Development Issues in Alabama’s Black Belt: Using Participatory GIS (Dr. Koti)
  • Routine Activities Theory and Identity Theft: Applying Geographic Approaches to Criminological Questions (Dr. Keys-Mathews and Dr. Craig Robertson, Sociology)
  • Sovereign Wealth Funds and Economic Development (Dr. Pretes)
  • Tourism Development in Remote Regions (Dr. Pretes)


Nature and society interaction is a research area that cross the sub-discipline line between human and physical geography. This research involves humans affect on Earth's landscape and atmosphere and the physical environment's affect on humans. Geography faculty members at UNA are currently conducting research in disaster recovery, land use change, spatial patterns of identity theft, crime patterns, tourism, and urbanization. Study areas include Costa Rica, Peru, Kenya, Florida, southern Alabama, and Alaska. Affiliated faculty are Brommer, and Keys-Mathews.


  • Katrina disaster recovery monitoring using satellite imagery (Keys-Mathews)
  • Urban Land Use Change in San Jose, Costa Rica (Keys-Mathews)
  • US Department of Justice COPS project studying patterns of crime before and after a disaster (Keys-Mathews, Robertson [Sociology], Bridgmon [Criminal Justice], and Carter [Criminal Justice])