Faculty Profile

Dr. Christopher A. Underwood, Assistant Professor and Program Director for Geography, Director of the Appalachian Geosciences Laboratory, Earth Club Faculty Advisor

Phone: 423.869.6247
Office: Avery Hall 110

Link to Curriculum Vitae

Education and Background

  • PhD, Geography, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Dissertation: Fire and forest history from soil charcoal in yellow pine and mixed hardwood-pine forests in the southern Appalachian Mountains, U.S.A.
  • MS, Geography, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Thesis: Century-scale trends in climatic variability for the Pacific Northwest from western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis Hook. ssp. occidentalis) tree-ring data
  • BS, Environmental Health (Chemistry minor), East Tennessee State University

Research and Teaching Areas

I am a biogeographer with research interests in forest and disturbance ecology (primarily forest fires) and environmental change during the Holocene—the present geological epoch that began ca. 11,700 years ago. I use natural proxies, such as tree rings and soil charcoal, to explore past environmental change in order to provide knowledge that can better prepare humans to predict, lessen the impacts of, or adapt to future global change.

One of the best parts of my job is that this type of research is often conducted in some of the most beautiful places in the world. I have worked on projects based in the mountains and high-elevation desert of the Pacific Northwest, the Appalachian Mountains, the bayous of Louisiana, and Arctic Sweden. My research has always provided opportunities for student collaboration, and I invite you to inquire about current projects in which you could participate.

My teaching interests include introductory geography, physical geography, environmental geography, biogeography, meteorology and climatology, sustainability, and natural hazards.

Scholarly Highlights