Living Systems

Cultivating natural sensibilities

Through the Nature Lab, students have access to the latest thinking regarding living systems theory and the fields of ecology and evolution. This provides a well-rounded understanding of the biological and physical factors — along with various forces, processes and flows — that define life on earth.

Living Systems Lab + Field Course

Slated to begin in spring 2016, this new lab and field course involves firsthand exploration of living systems, from the smallest microorganisms to global ecosystems. Grounded in Providence and Narragansett Bay, the course is a collaborative effort between Nature Lab staff and Liberal Arts faculty members to emphasize the value of a systematic understanding of our place in nature.

GIS + Story Mapping

GIS is a digital mapping tool that allows for the observation, analysis and display of spatial information across landscapes. Topography, bathymetry, land use, human demographics, lobster migrations – if the data exists spatially, it can be displayed via GIS. And if it doesn’t yet exist, we can create it.

The Nature Lab offers three dedicated GIS stations, along with an associated 54” HD multi-touch screen to enable individuals or groups to explore nature – and human-nature connections – at the macro scale.

Story mapping brings the Nature Lab outdoors into the local urban ecosystem and the greater Narragansett Bay watershed. Story maps allow students to create – and others to explore – the local ecology through walking tours and guided graphic information.

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The RISD Nature Lab is an EPSCoR|C-AIM Core Research Facility supported by the National Science Foundation under Cooperative Agreement #OIA-1655221 and EAGER Grant Award #1723559. ​​​Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed on this site are those of the Nature Lab and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.​

© 2018 Rhode Island School of Design Nature Lab