Research Labs

A student researcher in scuba gear gathering samples in the ocean.

The UB Department of Geology is a leader in the SUNY system with state-of-the-art facilities and research projects at the forefront of the field. 

The two Buffalo Undersea Research Labs, operated by the Ecology, Evolution and Behavior graduate program, focus primarily on coral reef-related projects. From studying coral reef genomes to reef connectivity, these labs are devoted to researching the intensely interesting and dynamic ecosystems within our waters.

The Geodynamics Research and Visualization Lab models the solid-state deformation of the lithosphere and upper mantle, with a focus on plate boundaries. This is accomplished through field work, analytic modeling, large-scale numerical modeling, data assimilation, and scientific data visualization. Research areas are slab-driven mantle flow dynamics, feedbacks between the slab and upper plate, and designing high-resolution 3D models of plate boundary systems. Besides pencil and paper for analytic problem formulation, the lab has (a) 1200-core Dell Linux Cluster, geosolver, shared with the Knepley Computational Science Group and (b) a custom-built 3D immersive virtual reality workspace in Cooke Hall.


The Paleoclimate Lab uses glacial and lacustrine records to study climate change in the Arctic. This group studies ice sheet processes and the history of glaciation to understand arctic climate change during the Pleistocene and the Holocene. The lab uses cosmogenic radionuclides to date glacial features and to understand basal ice sheet processes. They also employ standard paleolimnologic techniques on both organic and proglacial sediments to understand paleoenvironmental change on many timescales (last century, Holocene, late Pleistocene, earlier interglacials). 

The Physical Hydrogeology Lab focuses primarily on issues relating to the physical aspects of groundwater flow. Much of the work is conducted within wetland and riparian environments, investigating controls on groundwater flow and groundwater/stream interactions. An array of tools is used to investigate groundwater flow systems, with most projects using a combination of field work and numerical modeling. 

The Remote Sensing Lab focuses on understanding the complex dynamics of the Earth’s system and its interaction with the human environment. This lab works extensively in Alaska, researching ice flows and polar ice caps, maintaining a presence on the front lines of endangered ecosystems. 

The Volcanic Simulation Lab uses virtual reality to envision proper safety responses to volcanic activity. Using state of the art technology, this research facility is able to both visualize different scenarios and communicate in real-time with volcanologists in Mexico, aiming to help the public respond to environmental crises and further explorations into three major volcanos: Popocatepetl, Colima, and Pico de Orizaba.