Human Ecology

Laboratory of Human Ecology


The Laboratory of Human Ecology is focused on research about human-environmental interactions over long time periods. We work primarily with pottery, skeletal, and environmental data from Native American sites, European trade items, and historic documents. Current projects are funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, private donations, the University of Tulsa, and the Department of Defense. The laboratory is directed by Dr. Thomas Foster.

Dr. Foster works with students on issues related to human effects on the environment, biodiversity, modeling of economic and evolutionary behaviors, bio-archaeology, geographic information systems (GIS), and adaptations of the native people of the Southeastern United States from the prehistoric through the historic periods. Most recently, students have been researching sites including Apalachicola, Kasita, and Etowah using documents, maps, biological anthropology, archaeological analysis, GIS, palynology, and geomorphology.

Laboratory facilities include 400 square feet of space, a Zeiss Stemi 2000 microscope with a digital camera on a boom stand, a Dell T7600 Workstation (dual 4 core Xeon processors, 32 GB of RAM) for GIS and 3D rendering and modelling, data entry computers, fume hood, and electrolysis equipment. Research collections include comparative collections for Native American pottery and European trade goods analysis, historical vegetation data for the southeastern United States, historical map collection and GIS data relating to the southeastern United States, and historic documents related to the Creek Indians.

For more information and access to these collections, please contact Dr. Thomas Foster.