News & Resources


Dr. Mark Gathany to Teach New Course in Geographic Information Systems

Dec 17, 2012

Au Sable Institute is pleased to welcome Dr. Mark Gathany, Assistant Professor of Biology at Cedarville University (Ohio) and an Au Sable alumni from 2000, as the newest member of its distinguished teaching faculty for 2013. 

Dr. Gathany will teach Au Sable’s newest course, Applied Geographic Information Systems (GIS), which offers students instruction in the theory and application of spatial analysis to social and ecological issues in the context of real world problems. A highly qualified expert in GIS technology and applications, Dr. Gathany, who received his Ph.D. from Colorado State University, has particular expertise in ecosystem management and modeling, especially how fire and changing land use patterns affect carbon storage, nitrogen flow, and flux of greenhouse gas rates in forest ecosystems.

John Silvius, Senior Professor Emeritus of Biology at Cedarville, says, “Mark has brought valuable expertise in the environmental sciences to Cedarville, particularly in the area of ecosystem science and GIS,” “has also been developing a research program at Cedarville with projects that incorporate geospatial analysis, and several of his students are now in graduate programs or have completed graduate degrees.”  Similarly respected for his transparent expression of Christian commitment, Silvius also noted that Dr. Gathany demonstrates “godly Christian character which is a positive influence on both his students and colleagues.”  

Dr. Gathany’s new course will combine instruction in GPS field data collection; ArcGIS use for storage, processing, interpretation, and presentation of data; and remote sensing integration with GIS applications. Instruction in these skills will be integrated around an environmental project that will apply GIS techniques to real-world problem-solving in protecting and restoring ecosystems. 

Dr. Gathany’s publications have appeared in such peer-reviewed journals as Forests, Global Change Biology, and International Journal of Wildland Fire. Widely respected among his peers in these fields, Mark serves as a reviewer for international journals like Ecological Modeling, Environmental Management, and Forest Ecology and Management, among others. At Cedarville University, Mark’s teaching responsibilities have included courses in General Ecology, Ecosystem Science, Environmental Ethics, Biological Research, and Introduction to GIS, among others. 

Au Sable Executive Director Fred Van Dyke says, “We’re honored to have Mark Gathany join our faculty.  Au Sable looks forward to his contributions to teaching and mentoring students from across North America in these important skills. GIS might be the most important skill a student can learn for a future career in environmental science. We urge students to take advantage to learn these skills under a great instructor.”