Mario Giraldo

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Professor / GIS - Remote Sensing applications to ecological analysis
(818) 677-4431
Office location:
Sierra Hall, Room 130-N


Dr. Giraldo specializes in remote sensing GIS applications to environmental geography in issues of ecological forecasting, global change, water, biogeography and agriculture. He is a faculty co-investigator to ARCS where he works with graduate and undergraduate students in ecological forecasting and ecohydrology in suburban ecosystems. Recently, he received the 2018 CSUN Visionary Service Learning Award and the 2015 California Higher Education Sustainability Best practice award see Faculty Awards 

Currently serves as member of the CSUN faculty senate, also as member of the CSUN president's advisory committee for community engagement. In the past, he served as faculty associated to the Institute for Sustainability for 4 years and as faculty leader for 3 years of the GE path Principles of Sustainability, a faculty learning community from the office of undergraduate students.

 Dr. Giraldo's international experience includes directing a study abroad program in Spain (before CSUN) and conducting research in Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico. He started his professional work as a young scientist at the National Center for Coffee Research (cenicafe) in Colombia and with the Colombian coffee growers federation where he worked for six years.


  • Ph.D., August 2007, University of Georgia, Geography Department.
  • M.Sc., July 2003, University of Georgia, Geography Department.
  • GIS Certificate, July 2005, University of Georgia Geographic information science (GIScience).
  • B.Sc. (honors), July 1996, Agriculture Engineer Caldas State University (Colombia).

Courses Taught

  • Geog 101, Physical Geography
  • Geog 103, Weather and Climate
  • Geog 108, Earth from Space
  • Geog 364, Geography of Ecosystems
  • Geog 370, Water and society
  • Geog 404, Field studies
  • Intro and Advanced coursed in GIS and Remote Sensing
  • Graduate seminars in Biogeography and Landscape Ecology
    • Geog 630B Service Learning Project PDF icon

Selected Publications and Presentations

Giraldo, M.A.; Dark, Sh., Pendleton, P., Andreas J., Stein E., and Mazor, R. 2019. Environmental predictors of stream flow in semi-arid watersheds for biological assessments. Journal of Ecological Indicators. 104:429-438.

Giraldo, M.A. 2019. Waste Management: San Francisco, US. In: Cities around the World: Struggles and Solutions to Urban Life. ABC Clio, Santa Barbara, California, USA, 2019. ISBN:1-4408-5385-1

Giraldo, M.A. 2019. Air Pollution in Sao Paulo, Brazil In: Cities around the World: Struggles and Solutions to Urban Life. ABC Clio, Santa Barbara, California, USA, 2018. ISBN:1-4408-5385-1

Giraldo, M.A., Cox, Helen, Johnson, S. 2016. Integrated educational food garden and composting at California State University Northridge. Case studies in Campus sustainability. AASHE sustainability Hub

Giraldo, M.A., Paula J., and Wayne, V. 2015. Suburban Forest Change and Vegetation Water Dynamics in Atlanta, USA. Southern Geographer (55)p.193-212, 2015

Urquidez-Romero, R., Esparza-Romero, J., Chaudhari, L., Begay, R.C., Giraldo, M.A., Ravussin, E.,  Knowler, W.C., Hanson, R.L., Bennett, P.H., Schulz, L.O., Valencia, M.E. 2014. Study Design of the Maycoba Project: Obesity and Diabetes in Mexican Pimas. American  Journal of Health Behavior, 38(3):370-378

Giraldo, M.A. 2014 Using GIS systems for the land use planning of rural landscapes. Revista Ventana informatica, 29:13-29 (Spanish, Colombia)

Giraldo, M.A., 2012. Land-use and land-cover assessment for the study of lifestyle change in a rural Mexican community: The Maycoba Project. International Journal of Health Geographics 11:27-36 

Giraldo, M.A., 2012. Spatial heterogeneity of the rural Andes and its effects in monitoring water related processes at the regional level. Journal of Applied Geography (34)239-403

Finn, M., Lewis, D., Bosch, D.D., Giraldo, M.A. et al. 2011. Remote sensing of soil moisture using airborne hyperspectral data. Journal GIS science and Remote sensing 48(4):522-540

Giraldo, M.A., and Gale, S. 2011. Ground penetrating radar (GPR) analysis of soil moisture within different landuses in south Georgia. Proceedings of the Georgia Water Resource Conference, University of Georgia, Athens, Ga, April 27-29 p.11-13, 2011.

Giraldo, M.A., Grundstein, A., and Bosch, D. 2009.Testing FAAST a mono-dimensional hydrological model for soil moisture studies at the little river watershed, Tifton Georgia. Proceedings of the Georgia Water Resource Conference, University of Georgia, Athens, Ga, April 27-29, 2009.

Giraldo, M.A., Bosch, D., Madden, M., Usery, L. and Finn, M. 2009. Ground and surface temperature variability for remote sensing of soil moisture in a heterogeneous landscape. Journal of hydrology 368:214-223

Giraldo, M.A., Madden, M., Grunstein, A. and Bosch, D. 2009. Land use/Land cover and soil type covariation in a heterogeneous landscape for soil moisture studies using point data. Journal of GIS science and Remote Sensing, 46:1-24


Research and Interests

Dr. Giraldo's research combines ecosystem scale datasets from satellite, GIS and surface readings to analyze spatial responses to environmental changes. Ecological forecasting is an active area of research to anticipate the effects of global and climate changes to local human-environmental systems to better allocate human resources to address them. Studies focused in understanding vegetation response to climate variability are critical to support accurate bioclimatic models and forecasting tools. Fundamental knowledge of water plant interaction are at the center of strategies to anticipate and mitigate the impacts of environmental changes, and the sustainability of local ecosystems. Dr. Giraldo's current research interest includes ecological analysis of vegetation in suburban ecosystems, resilience in natural ecosystems and native vegetation in water conservation in South Western USA.