George Hurtt
Professor & Research Director
George Hurtt
1149 LeFrak
Department of Sociology
Phone:
(301) 405-8541
Email:
gchurtt@umd.edu

Professor Hurtt received his Ph.D from Princeton University in 1997. From 1998-2010, Dr. Hurtt worked at the University of New Hampshire in the Institute for the Study of Earth Oceans and Space and Department of Natural Resources, finally becoming Chair of the Natural Resources and Earth System Science Ph.D. Program, UNH's largest doctoral program, and Director the Complex Systems Research Center, UNH's main center focused on Earth System Science. In 2010, Dr. Hurtt joined the University of Maryland Department of Geography as Professor & Research Director, and in 2011 he was named Associate Director of the Joint Global Change Research Institute, and Associate Director of Research Innovations at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC). Dr. Hurtt is involved in multiple collaborative research projects including the North American Carbon Program, NASA’s Vegetation Structure Working Group, NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System, and DOE’s Integrated Earth System Modeling project. He currently leads an international effort on global land-use harmonization in preparation for the IPCC 5th assessment, and a NASA interdisciplinary science investigation focused on the role of natural disturbances on the Earth's coupled carbon-climate-human system. He is Science Team Leader for the NASA Carbon Monitoring System, Chair of the NASA Terrestrial Ecology Modeling Working Group, Associate Editor of Global Biogeochemical Cycles, Contributing Faculty Member to the Global Change Ecology section of Faculty of 1000, Guest Editor of Earth System Dynamics, and a Member of the University of Maryland Council on the Environment.

Areas of Interest:
  • Ecological theory and its applications
  • Vegetation structure and dynamics
  • Land-use, carbon, climate interactions
  • Integrated models and observations of coupled natural-human systems
  • Sustainability science
Personal Website:

Degrees

Ph.D Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, 1997
BA Biology, Middlebury College, 1990
MS Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut, 1992
Dr. Hurtt's teaching philosophy is rooted in the modern shift taking place in colleges and universities from a “teaching centered” paradigm to a “learning centered” paradigm. To implement this philosophy, his teaching follows “best practice” principles including: student-faculty contact, cooperation among students, active learning, setting high expectations, and respect for diversity. His approach is heavily inquiry based, and emphasizes the identification and use of important science questions to motivate new knowledge, new skills, and discovery through research.

Current Courses

Course Name
GEOG748B Seminar in Physical Geography: Modeling Coupled Human-Natural Systems
GEOG748F Seminar in Physical Geography: Forest Modeling
GEOG615 Land Cover and Land-Use Change
Dr. Hurtt is interested in the structure, function, and dynamics of ecological systems in the context of global change. His primary approach is to combine mathematics and data to develop models for scientific understanding and prediction. He has published on a wide range of topics including: the structure and dynamics of terrestrial ecosystems, latitudinal and elevational gradients in biodiversity, and ocean and terrestrial ecosystem models for use in studies of the global carbon cycle and global climate change. Current research is focused on the development and application of mathematical models to address issues such as: the sustainability of land-use practices, the effects of disturbances on ecosystem structure and function, and interactions between the biosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere and society.
Service and outreach are essential for the common good, for advancing disciplines and institutions, and for both communicating research and making it more responsive. Dr. Hurtt is actively engaged in multiple service activities across a range of scales from the university, to nationally and internationally.
Service and outreach are essential for the common good, for advancing disciplines and institutions, and for both communicating research and making it more responsive. Dr. Hurtt is actively engaged in multiple service activities across a range of scales from the university, to nationally and internationally.
Service and outreach are essential for the common good, for advancing disciplines and institutions, and for both communicating research and making it more responsive. Dr. Hurtt is actively engaged in multiple service activities across a range of scales from the university, to nationally and internationally.
Service and outreach are essential for the common good, for advancing disciplines and institutions, and for both communicating research and making it more responsive. Dr. Hurtt is actively engaged in multiple service activities across a range of scales from the university, to nationally and internationally.
Service and outreach are essential for the common good, for advancing disciplines and institutions, and for both communicating research and making it more responsive. Dr. Hurtt is actively engaged in multiple service activities across a range of scales from the university, to nationally and internationally.
Associate Editor, Global Biogeochemical Cycles
Associate Director, Joint Global Change Research Institute
Science Team Leader, NASA Carbon Monitoring System
Chair, NASA Terrestrial Ecology Modeling Working Group
Research Director, Department of Geographical Sciences

Former Students

  • R. Quinn Thomas
    Virginia Tech
  • Dr. Manoel Cardoso
    Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais, Brasil
  • Dr. Michael Palace
    Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, University of New Hampshire