Research Partners

An interdisciplinary mix


Student research

The research conducted by Hydrologic Sciences students includes research conducted by CU departments, CU institutes, CU centers, and nearby government labs, most of which are located either on campus or on the CU East Campus. East Campus is within a short (~20 min) walk or can be reached by bus, which departs every 10 minutes during the day.

Role of institutes and centers

The institutes and centers exist to facilitate interdisciplinary research. Some Hydrologic Sciences faculty hold joint appointments between a Department and one of CU-Boulder's research institutes and centers. Whether or not your office and research will be housed within one of the institutes, your M.S. or Ph.D. will be granted by a department, and you will benefit from the camaraderie of the other Hydrologic Sciences and departmental graduate students.

CADSWES - The Center for Advanced Decision Support for Water and Environmental Systems

  • Researches, designs, prototypes and develops integrated decision support systems to help solve real-world water resources and environmental problems.
  • Includes collaborative research projects with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the Tennessee Valley Authority and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop common tools for river and reservoir system management.
  • Website

INSTAAR - Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research

  • Studies physical and biogeochemical environmental processes associated with Quaternary and modern environments.
  • Research includes geochronology, human and ecosystem ecology, oceanography, landscape evolution, biogeochemistry, and climate.
  • Traditional focus has been on high-altitude and high-latitude regions but current research includes other areas.
  • Strong in graduate education and exposure of undergraduates to the research process.
  • Website

Role of government labs

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have research laboratories located in Boulder. Many scientists at these laboratories collaborate extensively with faculty and scientists at CU, and are affiliates of CIRES or INSTAAR or have appointments on the graduate faculty.


The National Research Program of the Water Resources Division, Central Region, has scientists in 5 of 6 core research areas located at CU-Boulder's East Campus, including:

  1. Sediment transport and geomorphology,
  2. Groundwater modeling,
  3. Surfacewater chemistry,
  4. Groundwater chemistry, and
  5. Ecology.

USGS scientists in Boulder collaborate with many USGS scientists located in state district offices and at other USGS research laboratories

See Research> USGS & NOAA for more info.



Graduate student Laurel Larsen (CEAE) and USGS collaborator Judson Harvey prepare a miniature drivepoint sampler for collection of porewater in the ridge and slough landscape of the Florida Everglades in August, 2005. The work was designed to assess gradients in nutrients and environmental tracers across transects perpendicular to the primary flow direction in order to understand why sawgrass ridges are encroaching upon open-water sloughs. Photo: Daniel Nowacki (USGS).


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