Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Founded in 1975, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology was the first department of its kind in the world and is increasingly being used as a model for the organization of biology in the world's leading universities. Our goal is to lead undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and the biological community worldwide on a mission of discovery of the nature and principles underlying ecological and evolutionary systems. Our unifying theme is biodiversity and biodiversification (the processes which create and maintain biodiversity). On campus, we are the primary home of basic ecological and evolutionary education and research. We study the diversity of life in an integrative evolutionary framework, considering all levels in the biological hierarchy: genes, cells, organisms, populations, communities and ecosystems. Our methods involve mathematical and computer models, lab experiments, field work, comparative analyses, and the use of museums and collections. We study a diversity of habitats (including deserts—especially the local Sonoran desert—oceans, islands, and mountains) and taxonomic groups (including microbes, protists, fungi, plants, and animals). Our program emphasizes ecology and genetics in an evolutionary context. Current foci of excellence include molecular evolution, evolutionary and ecological theory, evolutionary genetics, and evolutionary ecology. We are building in the areas of large-scale ecology, genomics, bioinformatics and behavior. Our faculty take an integrative approach, each blending several approaches and disciplines. We have a strong theoretical vein, balanced by empirical work in the field and laboratory. One of our greatest strengths is not a particular research area, but an attitude fostering interaction and interdisciplinary exploration.

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Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology