Faculty Research

Julie L. Commerford Visiting Professor

Julie Commerford is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography.

Julie’s research focuses on disentangling the drivers of ecosystem change in North America throughout the last 10,000 years. She uses a variety of field, laboratory, and geospatial techniques in her work, including analyzing pollen and other proxy data in lake sediments. She is currently working on a multi-year pollen monitoring project that aims to quantitatively evaluate modern-day drivers of grassland vegetation change (such as human disturbance, fire, and climate). With that knowledge, we can achieve better-informed interpretations of how grassland ecosystems responded to past changes.

NIH Grant Awarded for Environmental Health Research

Jonathan Chipman and Xun Shi are part of a large multidisciplinary team recently awarded a $42 million National Institute of Health grant.  The project, led by Margaret Karagas of the Geisel School, will assess environmental influences on child health.  Geography's Shi and Chipman will be using geospatial data to study the health effects of exposure to "greenspace" and other aspects of the natural and built environment through which children move during their daily lives.  For more information:


Understanding Health Care Access in Rural South Africa

In November and December 2015, Abigail Neely, assistant professor of Geography and Arun Ponshumnugam ’17 spent three weeks in South Africa conducting an in-depth survey and gathering GPS data about health care access in rural South Africa.  Dr. Neely has been working in the Pholela region of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa for close to a decade, but it was Arun’s first trip.  This research was funded by the Mellon Foundation through the Leslie Center for the Humanities and by the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding, both at Dartmouth.  Below are some thoughts and reflections of Arun’s.


Dartmouth Research Adds Detail to the Climate Picture

Anyone who travels on the highways of Northern New England is well aware of how much temperature and precipitation can vary from hilltop to valley. Now a Dartmouth-led research team has scaled down global climate models to create a sharper picture of this kind of local climate. . . (read more)

Our Nation's Health Care System

It’s now common to refer to health plan members and patients alike as “health care consumers,” and to talk about the trend toward consumerism in U.S. health care. But what does that really mean — and is this mindset a good one to embrace? - See more at: https://blog.highmark.com/our-nations-health-care-system-a-conversation-with-abigail-neely/#sthash.SzYVx4XK.dpuf


At the occasion of the end of the research program Reppaval (lien vers présentation), an international workshop was organized at the University of Poitiers (4-5 December 2015) in order to discuss social, cultural and political issues of dam and weir removal operations in Europe (Spain, Sweden, France) and North America (Canada, USA). Dam (and weir) removal projects, which are the most widespread river restoration operation in north-western France, are in fact also the most conflicting due to the fact ecological continuity reestablishment often involves landscape changes and activity transformations … The aim of this international workshop is to compare and share experiences of ecological continuity restoration in different cultural, institutional and political contexts. For more information: https://reppaval.hypotheses.org/1767

New #BlackLivesMatter Class

The school will offer a course this spring titled “10 Weeks, 10+ Professors: #BlackLivesMatter,” examining structural violence against communities of color. The lessons in the pilot course will be split into 15 sections that span more than 10 academic departments, including — but not limited to —  anthropology, history, women’s and gender studies, mathematics and English, according to The Dartmouth.

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