Mark Welford

Dr. Mark Welford, Professor of Geography

Mark Welford, Ph.D.
Professor of Geography
Office: Herty, 2100E
Phone: 912-478-1154

Academic Background

  • PhD, Geography, University of Illinois, at Urbana-Champaign, 1993
  • MS, Geography, University of Idaho, 1988
  • BS, Geography, Coventry University, U.K., 1986

College Leadership

During my time at Georgia Southern I have actively participated in campus-wide discussions about the direction of the institution in a variety of forms:


  • Serving on the following college-wide and university committees: Member, Georgia Southern University Student Conduct Board, 2015-present; Member, Provost’s Faculty Salary Taskforce, 2013; Chair, Pathways to Success Study Team, 2011-2012; Member, Quality Enhancement Program Steering Committee for SACS re-accreditation, 2013-2014; Member, Complete College Georgia Planning Committee, 2012-2013; Chair, COSM Faculty Governance Committee, 2011-2013; Member, Educational Programs Support Team for SACS reaffirmation, 2004.
  • Serving on Faculty Senate and associated senate committees: Member, Faculty Senate, 2015-2018, 2013-2015, 2009-2012, 2005-2007; Member of the Senate Executive Committee, 2016-2017, 2013-2015; Member, Academic Standards Committee, 2015-2018; Faculty Senate Secretary, 2013-2015; Faculty Senate Librarian, 2016-2017; Member, Faculty Senate Welfare Committee, 2013-2014, 2009-2011.



I have also represented the department and college on various committees that support the running of the university:


  • Geography Faculty Advisor, COST Advising Center, 2008-2010. Assessment Director for Geography, 2010-present. Scientific Member, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, 2009-present.

I have also been program director of various study abroad programs:

  • Program Director, STEM-orientated Study Abroad to Italy, 2018; Program Director, Study Abroad to Ecuador, 2016; Co-Program Director w/Dr. R. Yarbrough, Study Abroad to India, 2015; Co-Program Director w/Dr. R. Yarbrough, Study Abroad to Ecuador, 2005, 2008, 2011, 2013.
  • Program Director, Study Abroad to Krakow, Poland, 2008; Program Director, Study Abroad to Czech Republic, 2006. Director, Travel with Scholars Program to Romania, 2005. Program Director, USG Environmental Support Group: Andes/Appalachian Connection, 2001. Program Director, Study Abroad/Field Workshop to Ecuador, 1998, 1999.


Research Interests

My research interests include Conservation, biogeography and geodynamics of Andean cloud forest; historic Atlantic hurricane frequency; and spatial epidemiology.

Dr. Bossak (College of Charleston) and I have made significant contributions in our understanding of the spatial epidemiology of the Medieval Black Death. One, we published a comprehensive synthetic theory in Medical Hypotheses that explains the summer peak of mortality (opposite to modern Plague epidemics), the rapid transmission of the medieval Black Death, and the spatial dynamics of the spread tied to the trading networks of medieval Europe. Two, we created the largest database in existence of the primary wave of Black Death mortality between 1347-1351. Three, we digitized the trading networks of the 1300’s and integrated this with our mortality data in ArcGIS. Four, we have begun to compare the spatial dynamics of mortality and infectiousness among the Athenian Plague, Justinian Plague and Medieval Black Death.

I maintain an ongoing nature-society research program in NW Ecuador that has investigated the impact of landslides and pastures on landscape evolution and the distribution of rare, range-restricted bird species; the impact of birding economics on ecotourism; the impact of climate change on tropical bird range extensions; and the impact of oil-pipelines on reforestation and ecotourism.

I also worked with Drs. Underwood and Yarbrough to develop a Georgia Southern research station in Milpe, Ecuador, called Georgia Southern’s Human-Environmental Research Station or GS-HERS for short.

Teaching Interests

My course course responsibilities include World Regional Geography, Climate and the Landscape, Nature-Societies Geographies, Biogeography, Geography of Europe, and Geography of Latin America. In future I will also teach the Research Methods course.

Professional Activities

Dr. Welford is currently an editorial board member for Professional Geographer – the forum and journal of the Association of American Geographers (AAG). And has been a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society since 1986.

Recent Funded Research Projects

  • Reconstructing Georgia’s Hurricane Record: A 260-year GIS Database of Coastal Impact (Georgia Sea Grant Program)

Selected Publications in Preparation

  • Welford, MR, Barilla, AG 2017. The ongoing collapse of Antisana Ecological Reserve large-bodied avian community. Conservation Biology. In Progress.
  • Welford, MR, Yarbrough, R, 2017. The Human-Landscape Environment: a geographic approach. Palgrave, UK. Contract awarded, Oct 2016. Deadline Aug 2018.
  • Evans, P, Naufel, K, Locker, L and Welford, MR, 2016. Tornado Trouble: How can current tornado warnings be improved. BAMS. Submit Dec 2016.
  • Welford, MR, Barilla, AG 2016. Anthropogenic Induced Changes in Tropical Bird Species Composition. Science. In progress.
  • Yarbrough, R, Coles, A, Welford, MR, 2016. From Pastures to Private Protected Areas to Socio Bosque: Contested Geographies of Ecotourism and Development in Northwestern Ecuador. Environment and Society. In progress.
  • Welford, MR, 2017, Geographies of Plague Pandemics: The Spatial-Temporal Behavior of Plague to the Modern Day. Routledge, U.K. Contract awarded May, 2016. Deadline for submission of book Aug 31, 2017.


Publications (2007 or later):


  • Yarbough, R, Welford, MR, 2016. A Critical Study Abroad Model with Implications for Undergraduate Research. Council on Undergraduate Research Quarterly. Submitted Jan 15. Accepted pending major revisions May 2016.


Last updated: 9/29/2016

DEPARTMENT OF GEOLOGY AND GEOGRAPHY • P.O. Box 8149 • Statesboro, GA 30460 • (912) 478-0667