Earth and Ecosystem Sciences

Earth and Ecosystem Sciences

scientists on scaffolding above the desert floor
The Division of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences (DEES) is one of three scientific research divisions within DRI. Since its inception in 1999, DEES has grown steadily and built a strong program of research, development, and education in the earth and ecosystem sciences. The DEES research portfolio reflects the interplay between local, state, national, and international environmental issues, the expertise of our faculty, and the availability of research funding.
The mission of DEES is to conduct high-quality basic and applied research in the life and earth sciences, particularly those dealing with the complex interactions of geological processes, organisms, biological communities, and human societies on the earth’s surface. We strive to be responsive to the scientific community through publications and service, to develop the scientific pipeline, and to help inform the general public on issues of vital environmental concern. We address our mission through multidisciplinary research and education, with a highly diverse faculty supported by graduate research assistants and technicians.
DEES has approximately 80 ongoing research projects with an annual budget of close to $8 million, primarily derived from external research sponsors.

Our Research Areas


Anthropology, Archaeology, Paleoecology


Biological sciences


Health sciences


Geological sciences


Remote sensing, GIS & visualization

Our Faculty and Staff

Meet the people doing Earth & Ecosystems Science research and innovation at DRI.

Our Research Partners

Federal Sponsors

Department of Energy

Department of Defense

Department of Interior

National Aeronautics & Space Administration

National Science Foundation

U.S. Department of Agriculture

State Sponsors

Nevada Division of Environmental protection

Governor’s Office of Economic Development

Nevada System of Higher Education

Local Government

Clark County

Nevada Tahoe Conservation District

Southern Nevada Water Authority

Lincoln County

Private Sponsors

Renown Health


Philippe Vidon, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences
Desert Research Institute
2215 Raggio Parkway, Reno, NV 89512