The novel feature of the research theme is the focus on interactions between human and natural systems in the urbanizing tropics, rather than the more common focus on deforestation and related problems. The interdisciplinary feature will be the research and training focus on interactions between human activity and ecological systems.

Research themes and approaches

IGERT research can focus on many topics involving environmental themes in the urbanized tropics such as climate, water, biodiversity, and urban system services. Dissertations will have both natural and social science components by focusing on the following interactions:

1. How does human activity alter ecosystems, and, in turn, how do altered ecosystem services change human activity?

2. How do we use answers to these questions to shape and implement solutions for environmental problems in the urbanizing tropics?

The UPR IGERT Program approaches these research questions by bringing faculty and the students together in an interdisciplinary and collaborative framework. Reflecting the strong interaction between natural and human systems, both research theme and training in the IGERT program will be based on an iterative model of human-environment interactions.