David E. Parkhurst

Professor Emeritus

(812) 855-7980


  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1970
  • M.S., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1968
  • B.S., University of Colorado, 1965


Professor Emeritus Dr. David Parkhurst is a mathematical biologist with expertise in physiological plant ecology and statistics. He joined SPEA in 1973, a year after the school was founded, and served on the faculty for 32 years.

Parkhurst's research interests involve physiological plant ecology, including transfers of carbon dioxide and water between leaves and atmosphere and among the cells within leaves, both in relation to leaf structure. He also explores how mathematics and statistics apply to environmental issues such as analysis of concentrations of indicator bacteria at swimming beaches. Currently, Parkhurst recently analyzed data for coliform bacteria in the aqueducts leaving New York City's Kensico reservoir in relation to counts of gulls, geese, and other waterfowl there.

Since retiring in 2005, Parkhurst has cultivated his garden and started beekeeping. He is treasurer of the Bloomington Food Policy Council, and has just been appointed to the City of Bloomington Environmental Commission (on which he also served for 14 years long ago).


  • New York City Department of Environmental Protection
  • Institute of Arctic & Alpine Research
  • AAAS EPA Environmental Science & Engineering Fellowship
  • Dean's Teaching Award (1982), School of Public & Environmental Affairs, Indiana University
  • Fulbright Grant to Australia

Selected Works

  • “Conceptual bases for relating illness risk to indicator concentrations,” (with G. F. Craun and J. A. Soller), Statistical Framework for Recreational Water Quality Criteria and Monitoring, L. J. Wymer, (Ed.). New York: Wylie (2007)
  • “Graphical methods for exploratory analysis of complex data sets,” (with D. S. Henshel and R. L. Yeager), Bioscience, 57: 673-679 (2007)
  • Introduction to Applied Mathematics for Environmental Science. New York: Springer Science+Business Media, LLC (2006)
  • “Indicator bacteria at five swimming beaches—analysis using random forests,” (with K. P. Brenner, A. P. Dufour, and L. J. Wymer), Water Research, 39(7): 1354-1360 (2005)
  • “Statistical significance tests: Equivalence and reverse tests should reduce misinterpretation,” Bioscience 51:1051–1057 (2001)
  • “Stomatal responses to humidity in air and helox,” (with K.A. Mott) Plant, Cell, and Environment, 14:509-515 (1991)
  • “Intercellular diffusion limits to CO2 uptake in leaves. Studies in air and helox.” (with K.A. Mott). Plant Physiology, 94:1024-1032. (1990)