Brannon Andersen Furman University

Dr. Brannon Andersen came to Furman in 1994 after completing his Ph.D. at Syracuse University, where he also was a senior geochemist studying leachate mitigation as part of the closure of the Freshkills Landfill on Staten Island, NY. He is trained in geology, but has morphed into an environmental scientist with a focus on biogeochemistry and sustainability science. Dr. Andersen believes in the transformative impact of undergraduate research experiences, and has co-authored over 110 abstracts with undergraduate students that were presented at regional and national professional meetings. He has also published over 25 journal articles/book chapters and has been awarded over $2 million in external grants. Dr. Andersen was chair of the department (2009-2014), was named the Henry and Ellen Townes Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences (1998-2000), the Association of Furman Students Faculty Member of the Year (2003-2004), a South Carolina Independent Universities and Colleges Teacher of Excellence (2008), and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Distinguished Undergraduate Research Mentor (2010). Dr. Andersen is also an Adjunct Professor in the School of the Environment at Clemson University and associate editor of the journal Environmental Geosciences.  Currently, Dr. Andersen is a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Zadar in Zadar, Croatia, where is is affliated with the Department of Ecology, Agronomy, and Aquaculture, the Department of Geography, and the Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology. ​

Name Title Description


Environmental Science

Study of human transformation of Earth as a trade-off for growth of the human enterprise. Topics include changes in population, land cover (agriculture, deforestation, urbanization), climate, nitrogen and phosphorous cycles, biodiversity; limits of water, soil, energy and mineral resources; and links between population and consumption patterns.


ECOS Seminar


Sedimentary Systems

Principles of sedimentology, sedimentary processes, and depositional environments. Description, classification, and interpretation of sedimentary rocks.


Environmental Systems

Same as BIO-343 (43). Interdisciplinary examination of the physical, biological and chemical processes that control the flow of matter and energy in surface environments on planet Earth. Emphasis on the interactions between abiotic and biotic processes. Lab includes field studies and weekend trips.



Distribution of the elements and geochemical evolution of the earth and solar system. Isotope geochemistry. Chemical equilibrium in igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary environments. Application of thermodynamics to geologic systems.


Environment and Society

Interdisciplinary examination of the causes, potential solutions and ethical dilemmas associated with environmental problems on various spatial, temporal, political and social scales (individual to global).


Eating as a Sustainable Act

This course will examine the relationship between you and the food you eat, how that food is produced, and the economic, social, and environmental impacts of eating. Course will involve visiting local farms to help define sustainable agriculture, and of course, sharing a meal or two together.


Dynamic System Modeling

An introduction to systems thinking and modeling of the human-environment relationship. Stocks, flows, feedback loops, homeostasis, and cyclic processes will be considered. Problems in sustainability such as climate change, population growth, and energy consumption will be modeled.

*Denotes undergraduate co-author

Recent Journal articles

  • Andersen, C.B., Lewis, G.P., *Pugh, J., and *Hart, M., 2014, The impact of wastewater treatment plant effluent on the biogeochemistry of the Enoree River, South Carolina, during drought conditions: Water, Soil, and Air Pollution, v. 225, DOI 10.1007/s11270-014-1955-4​, 21 pp.
  • Dripps, W.R., Lewis, G.P., *Baxter, R., and Andersen, C.B., 2013, Hydrogeochemical characterization of headwater seepages inhabited by the endangered Bunched Arrowhead (Sagittaria fasciculata) in the Upper Piedmont of South Carolina: Southeastern Naturalist, v. 12, p. 619-637.
  • Halfacre, A., Horhota, M., Kransteuber, K., DeKnight, B., Andersen, C.B., Byrne, J., Trombulak, S., and Jenks-Jay, N., 2013, Shaping sustainability at Furman and Middlebury: Emergent and adaptive curricular models, in, Johnston, L. (ed.), Higher Education for Sustainability: Cases, Challenges, and Opportunities from Across the Curriculum, p. 185-200.
  • *Williams, A. J., Andersen, C.B., and Lewis, G.P., 2009, Evaluating the effects of sample processing treatments on alkalinity measurements: Journal of Hydrology, v. 377, p. 455-464.
  • Andersen, C.B., and Dripps, W.R., 2009, Global competition for planetary resources, in, Worthen, W. B., Henderson, A. S., Rasmussen, P.R., and Benson, T.L., eds., Competition in Theory and Practice: A Multidisciplinary Analysis: Sense Publishing, Rotterdam, p. 33-43.
  • Lewis, G.P., *Mitchell, J., Andersen, C.B., Haney, D., and Liao, M.K., and Sargent, K.A., 2007, Urban influences on stream chemistry and biology in the Big Brushy Creek watershed, South Carolina: Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, v. 182, p. 303-323.
  • Muthukrishnan, S., Lewis, G.P., and Andersen, C.B., 2007, Chapter 24. Relationships between land cover, vegetation density, and nitrate concentrations in streams of the Enoree River basin, piedmont region of South Carolina, USA, in, D. Sarkar, R. Datta, and R. Hannigan (eds.), Concepts and Applications in Environmental Geochemistry, Elsevier Press, New York, p. 517-542.

Recent abstracts presented at professional meetings:

  • Donovan, K., Andersen, C.B., and Quinn, J., 2014, Human appropriation of net primary productivity of an agriculturally-dominated watershed, southeastern USA: Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers.
  • *Cowell, D., and Andersen, C.B., 2014, The ecological footprint as a metric for sustainable agriculture: Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers.
  • Andersen, C.B., Kransteuber, K., and *Joliff, M., 2013, Integrating ecological footprint analysis into university sustainability plans: National Meeting of the American Association for Sustainability in Higher Education.
  • *Jolliff, M. and Andersen, C.B., 2013, Evaluating the ecological footprint of Furman University: Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Sociological Society.
  • *Campbell, C., Andersen, C.B., and Lewis, G.P., 2013, Soil organic carbon associated with pasture land in the upper piedmont of South Carolina: Geological Society of America Programs with Abstracts, Southeastern Sectional Meeting, v. 45.
  • *Morrison, A., Andersen, C.B., and Lewis, G.P., 2013, The impact of artificial ponds on the biogeochemistry of urban streams: Geological Society of America Programs with Abstracts, Southeastern Sectional Meeting, v. 45.
  • *Bressler, A., Dripps, W., and Andersen, C.B., 2013, The effectiveness of rain gardens at mitigating nitrogen runoff to a Piedmont lake, Greenville, South Carolina: Geological Society of America Programs with Abstracts, Southeastern Sectional Meeting, v. 45.

Dr. Andersen is a biogeochemist that studies how human activities have transformed the landscape and altered the biogeochemical cycles of carbon and nitrogen. He conducts this research in collaboration with other members of the EES department and the Biology Department as part of the River Basins Research Initiative. His current research focuses on how intensive grazing practices are improving soil health in the Upstate of South Carolina, the response of nitrogen and carbon cycling in streams to urbanization, and modeling the intensity of land use by humans over the last half century using the human appropriation of net primary productivity method. For more information about his research program, please see the River Basins Research Initiative website.  He is currently in Croatia studying the biogeochemistry of carbon and nitrogen in the vineyard soils of the Dalmatia region, the potential of seagrass ecosystems to store carbon in the Novigrad Sea, and the biogeochemistry of the Sava River.

Syracuse University
Miami University
Texas A&M University

Connect with Admission

Furman University is one of the nation's premier undergraduate liberal arts colleges. We offer outstanding academics, opportunities for a broad range of talented students with a passion for learning, a robust arts program, and NCAA Division I athletics.

Want more information about the admission process at Furman?

Contact us

Once you see our campus, making the right college decision will be so much easier.

Plan a visit

Undergraduate Evening Studies provides adults the opportunity to receive an education from one of the premier liberal arts universities in the nation.

Whether you are starting or continuing your education, or have been away from the classroom for a few months or several years, our program provides many services to assist you with accomplishing your educational and professional goals.

Apply now

Our graduate studies program is designed for the professional educator.

We know the challenges teachers and administrators face every day, and we are committed to helping you become a leader within your school system or district.

Apply now
  • Furman University