Mary Ann Cunningham

Professor of Geography
Mary Ann A. Cunningham wearing a black sweater against a light background.

My work focuses on the ways landscape composition influences environmental quality and habitat availability. Around Poughkeepsie and the Vassar Campus I have worked with students and colleagues to study how urbanization has changed habitat composition (especially for birds) and water quality in local streams. Much of my work has also explored how species distributions in the Sheyenne National Grasslands, in North Dakota, are influenced by extent and configuration of tree cover in the landscape.

BA, Carleton College; MA, University of Oregon; PhD, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
At Vassar since 2001


Ely Hall
Box 261

Research and Academic Interests



ENST/ESCI/GEOG 340 Advanced Urban and Regional Studies
ESCI/GEOG 220 Cartography: Spatial Data Visualization with GIS

In the Media

Bryan Corrigan (far right), Project Manager for Vassar’s Office of Facilities and Operations, addressed Exploring College students on the challenges the College faces renovating some of its older buildings to make them energy-efficient.

Climate change and sustainability were the themes of this year’s Exploring College program. Students took a mini-course on the social and economic impacts of climate change, learned about Vassar’s sustainability goals and projects and also got some tips on how to navigate the college application process.

Students in Professor of Geography Mary Ann Cunningham’s introductory Environmental Studies class used government and industry databases to compute annual carbon emissions in five local municipalities.

Mary Ann Cunningham, Associate Professor of Geography and Chair of Earth Science and Geography, and Neil Curri, Geographic Information System Academic Computing Consultant, were part of a Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies investigative team that found that road salt pollutes drinking water wells in suburban New York State, as noted by EurekAlert!.


Download images for non-commercial use, photo credit required.