Researchers in boat.

Environment and Sustainability Research

Environment and sustainability research strives to tackle the most pressing challenges currently facing the natural environment, human health, and food systems.

Founded in 1863 as an agricultural land-grant college, UMass Amherst has a deep legacy of research focused on sustainability and the environment. Today, more than 400 faculty across 41 departments in several schools and colleges are engaged in interdisciplinary environment and sustainability research, from studying soil erosion in the Midwest to protecting vulnerable pollinator populations to promoting the vitality of Massachusetts’ cranberry industry.

UMass Amherst is host to the Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center (NE CASC), one of nine regional centers managed by the U.S. Geological Survey, which works with natural and cultural resource managers on research to help fish, wildlife, and ecosystems adapt to the impacts of climate change. And with the campus's ambitious UMass Carbon Zero initiative to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2032, UMass is leading the way on research, innovation, and education to mitigate the climate crisis and foster a more sustainable future for the planet.

The Cass River which flows through Frankenmuth, Michigan

A new international center, funded by a $30M NSF award and led by UMass Amherst, seeks to address the urgent and interconnected challenges of climate change, cultural places, and food security.

Alice Cheung in lab with plants

Internationally renowned researcher Alice Y. Cheung studies plant reproduction, with implications for global agriculture.

Research to Promote Sustainable and Equitable Access to Clean Water

At UMass Amherst, researchers across multiple disciplines are convening to accelerate translatable research and innovation in the water sector. 

Research to Save Lives in Severe Weather

The Paros Center for Atmospheric Research at UMass Amherst leads research to improve the nation’s ability to forecast, plan for, and respond to shifting climate and hazardous weather. 

A New View of Earth's Waters

NASA’s Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission, in which UMass Amherst researchers play a range of important roles, will reveal unprecedented observations about water and climate on a global scale.

Research to Help Prepare for the Next 'Big One'

UMass Amherst Earth, Geographic, and Climate Sciences doctoral student’s research on earthquakes aims to inform building codes, disaster relief plans, and other aspects of public policy.

Research to Promote Grape Resilience

Julietta Mascitelli ’23 is a plant and soil sciences major at UMass Amherst who studies fungal pathogens that affect grapes, with implications for vineyard management practices.

Containing the Green Invasion

With an eye to climate change, Bethany Bradley’s Spatial Ecology Lab at UMass Amherst is doing actionable scientific research to mitigate the damaging effects of invasive plant species.

Engineering a Safer, More Resilient Food Supply

Om Parkash Dhankher is a leader in plant biotechnology, working to address food safety and security challenges facing the world.

Supporting Adaptation to Climate Change

UMass Amherst hosts the Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center (NE CASC), one of nine regional centers managed by the U.S. Geological Survey National Climate Adaptation Science Center. NE CASC works with natural and cultural resource managers to help fish, wildlife, and ecosystems adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Where Has All the Soil Gone?

UMass Amherst geologist and geochemist Isaac Larsen's research group is investigating the erosion of topsoil in America's heartland, which could have serious consequences for the country's food production and more.

Secrets in the Sewers

Environmental engineer Caitlyn Butler’s research aims to make wastewater treatment more energy efficient. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, she turned to wastewater as an epidemiological tool.

Can Garden Basil Help Fight a Bee Epidemic?

UMass Amherst graduate student Seanne Clemente is investigating whether bumble bees can use plants to “self-medicate.”

Uncovering the Back Story of Earth's Varied Landscapes

Geosciences graduate student Karin Lehnigk is studying the role ancient floods played in shaping the topography of Earth—and Mars.

From Cranberry Bog to Table

For over 100 years and counting, the UMass Cranberry Station has invigorated the commonwealth’s cranberry industry through research and innovation.