patrick bitterman
Assistant Professor Geography


I am an Assistant Professor of Geography in the College of Arts and Sciences. I study adaptive decision-making in social-ecological systems at multiple scales - ranging from individual adaptations by farmers to adaptive management in multiplex governance networks. My work focuses on agro-water systems, including climate change adaptation in the US Midwest, water quality policy in New England, and rural water scarcity in southeast India. My work is grounded in GIScience methods, including geosimulation and spatial decision support. I also manage to dabble in the areas of public health and ecosystem services. Much of my work takes places in large interdisciplinary teams, where we try our best to integrate knowledge from a wide array of disciplines and specialties to tackle wicked social-environmental issues

Research and Current Projects

  • Modeling water governance in the Lake Champlain Basin (UVM)
  • Risk perceptions in the provision of aquatic ecosystem services (SESYNC)
  • Farmer adaptability to climate change in the Iowa-Cedar River Basin (U of I)


GEOG 181: Quality of the Environment
GEOG 217: Principles of GIS
GEOG 422/822: Advanced GIS
GEOG 432/832: Programming, Scripting, and Automation for GIS

Selected Publications

Bitterman P., C. Koliba. 2020. Modeling Alternative Collaborative Governance Network Designs: An Agent-Based Model of Water Governance in the Lake Champlain Basin, Vermont. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory. doi: 10.1093/jopart/muaa013.

Bitterman P., D.A. Bennett, and S. Secchi. 2019. Constraints on Farmer Adaptability in the Iowa-Cedar River Basin. Environmental Science & Policy. doi: 10.1016/j.envsci.2018.11.004.

Carrel, Margaret, C. Zhao, D. Thapaliya, P. Bitterman, A. E. Kates, B. M. Hanson, T. C. Smith. 2017. Assessing the potential for raw meat to influence human colonization with Staphylococcus aureus. Scientific Reports. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-11423-6

van Riper, C. J., A. C. Landon, S. Kidd, P. Bitterman, L. A. Fitzgerald, E. F. Granek, S. Ibarra, D. Iwaniec, C. M. Raymond, and D. Toledo. 2017. Incorporating socio-cultural phenomena into ecosystem service valuation: The importance of critical pluralism. BioScience. doi: 10.1093/biosci/biw170.    

Bitterman, P., E. Tate, K. J. Van Meter, and N. B. Basu. 2016. Water security and rainwater harvesting: A conceptual framework and candidate indicators. Applied Geography 76: 75-84. doi: 10.1016/j.apgeog.2016.09.013

Bitterman, P., and D. A. Bennett. 2016. Constructing stability landscapes to identify alternative states in coupled social-ecological agent-based models. Ecology and Society 21(3): 21. doi: 10.5751/ES-08677-210321.   


  • Ph.D., Geography, Department of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences, University of Iowa, 2017
  • B.S., Geography, University of Iowa, 2011

Research Interests


Personal Website

Curriculum Vitae