Ryan D. Bergstrom

Ryan Bergstrom

Professional title

Assistant Professor


I first became interested in geography when I enrolled in a Physical Geography course at a community college in the Twin Cities. Thanks to that one class and its inspiring instructor, I was able to take my newfound passion for geography and turn it into a career. After receiving my B.S. in Earth Sciences from Montana State University, I was asked to pursue a Master's degree in that same program. Eventually, I found my way to Kansas State University, where I received my PhD in Geography. After graduating from Kansas State, I accepted a position in the Department of Geography at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN, where I taught until arriving at UMD in August of 2014.

My research is primarily focused on the complexity of coupled socio-ecological systems and the human dimensions of global change, with a focus on rural areas of the American West, including the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. I am particularly interested in understanding how natural resource-dependent communities impact their local environment and how these impacts facilitate or hinder a transition towards sustainability. As a human-environment geographer I straddle the worlds of physical and cultural geography, and use geospatial sciences to better understand the relationship between humans and the natural world. Because of my passion for both realms of geography (physical and cultural), I teach a wide variety of courses including Physical Geography, Weather and Climate, Climatology, Environmental Conservation, Soil Science, Sustainable Rural Livelihoods, Sustainability Science, Geography of Tourism, World Regional Geography, and Recreation and Natural Resource Extraction, as well as numerous courses in Geographic Information Science.

Courses Taught:

GEOG 1414: Physical Geography
GEOG 2306: Environmental Conservation
GEOG 3401: Weather and Climate
GEOG 3481: Urban Ecology
GEOG 3995: Sustainable Rural Livelihoods
GEOG 4401: Fundamentals of Climate Science
GEOG 4451: Geography of Soils
GIS 3563: Geographic Information Science I: Theory and Analysis
GIS 3564: Geographic Information Science II; Applied GIS
GIS 4533: Distributed GIServices: Mobile and Web-based Solustions
GIS 5571: GIS in Urban Analysis
GIS 5573: GIScience in Regional Sustainability