In Biological Sciences .
Ecologists study the interactions between organisms and environments, and the consequences of those interactions at the individual, population, community, and ecosystem levels. Evolutionary biologists document the history of organisms through study of the tree of life and the fossil record as well as through study of processes that have resulted in adaptation, phenotypic variation, and biotic diversity. The study of ecology has greatly enhanced our understanding of both natural ecosystems and how those systems are changing due to human impacts, and evolutionary biology has deeply altered our understanding of the origins of plants and animals, including humans.
Learning in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (E&EB) concentration is not confined to the classroom and lab. In “Field Ecology,” for example, students spend one afternoon each week in the fields, forests, and ponds of the area, investigating animals and plants by observation and experiment. In many of our courses (e.g. Ichthyology, Ornithology, Limnology, Stream Ecology) students also participate in field trip and short field-based projects. E&EB students can also earn credit for off-campus field courses, such as courses at Shoals Marine Lab and through the Organization for Tropical Studies. Hands-on laboratory work is a basic feature of many courses. Quantitative methods are used in laboratory and field research and in theoretical studies, and molecular biology is increasingly important in all areas of ecology and evolutionary biology.
With its broad range of faculty research, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology offers students many opportunities to participate in original field and lab-based research. Undergraduates can do research either as a member of a research team, or independently under the guidance of a faculty member.
Graduates from this concentration have entered a wide variety of careers. Many go on to graduate school in ecology or evolutionary biology. Others take jobs with government agencies doing conservation work, management, or environmental education, or with non-governmental organizations such as the Nature Conservancy or the World Wildlife Fund. Students have also used their background as a way to enter careers in environmental law, journalism, medicine, and business. This concentration provides insights and perspectives that enrich students’ lives regardless of their career path.
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Requirements
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology concentrators must take BIOEE 1610 or BIOSM 1610 as one of the courses used to fulfill the core course requirement for the Biology major. In addition, they must also take at least 13 credit hours with at least one course each from Groups A, B, and C.
Group A - Foundation:
Students more focused on ecology should take BIOEE 3610 and students more focused on evolution should select from the other courses listed. We strongly recommend students get exposure to both evolution and ecology within their concentration.
Group B - Organisms:
- BIOEE 2740 - The Vertebrates: Comparative Anatomy, Function, Paleontology, and Evolution (summer option at SML)
- BIOEE 4500 - Mammalogy, Lectures
- BIOEE 4501 - Mammalogy, Laboratory
- BIOEE 4700 - [Herpetology, Lectures]
- BIOEE 4701 - [Herpetology, Laboratory]
- BIOEE 4750 - Ornithology, Lectures
- BIOEE 4760 - [Ichthyology: Biology of Fishes, Lectures]
- BIOEE 4761 - [Ichthyology: Biology of Fishes, Laboratory]
- BIOEE 4930 - Marine Invertebrate Biodiversity
- ENTOM 2120 - Insect Biology
- PLPPM 4490 - Mycology
- PLBIO 2410 - Introductory Plant Diversity and Evolution
- PLBIO 4480 - Plant Evolution and the Fossil Record
Group C - Ecological and Evolutionary Systems:
- ANTHR 2750 - Human Biology and Evolution (crosslisted)
- BIOEE 2525 - Ecology and Conservation of Wildlife in the Neotropics
- BIOEE 2640 - Tropical Field Ornithology
- BIOEE 3611 - Field Ecology
- BIOEE 3620 - [Dynamic Models in Biology] (crosslisted)
- BIOEE 3690 - Chemical Ecology (crosslisted)
- BIOEE 4460 - Plant Behavior and Biotic Interactions, Lecture (crosslisted)
- BIOEE 4461 - Plant Behavior and Biotic Interactions, Laboratory (crosslisted)
- BIOEE 4550 - [Insect Ecology] (crosslisted)
- BIOEE 4560 - Stream Ecology (crosslisted)
- BIOEE 4570 - [Limnology: Ecology of Lakes, Lectures]
- BIOEE 4571 - [Limnology: Ecology of Lakes, Laboratory]
- BIOEE 4620 - [Marine Ecosystem Sustainability] (crosslisted)
- BIOEE 4660 - Physiological Ecology, Lectures
- BIOEE 4661 - Physiological Ecology, Laboratory
- BIOEE 4690 - Food, Agriculture, and Society (crosslisted)
- BIOEE 4780 - [Ecosystem Biology and Global Change]
- BIOEE 4790 - Paleobiology (crosslisted)
- BIOEE 6680 - [Principles of Biogeochemistry]
- BIONB 3690 - Chemical Ecology (crosslisted)
- BIONB 4460 - Plant Behavior and Biotic Interactions, Lecture (crosslisted)
- BIONB 4461 - Plant Behavior and Biotic Interactions, Laboratory (crosslisted)
- BIOSM 3740 - Field Ornithology
- ENTOM 3690 - Chemical Ecology (crosslisted)
- ENTOM 4550 - [Insect Ecology] (crosslisted)
- EAS 4620 - [Marine Ecosystem Sustainability] (crosslisted)
- EAS 4790 - Paleobiology (crosslisted)
- MATH 3620 - [Dynamic Models in Biology] (crosslisted)
- NS 2750 - Human Biology and Evolution (crosslisted)
- NTRES 3100 - Applied Population Ecology
- NTRES 3400 - [Molecular Tools for Ecology, Conservation, and Natural Resource Management]
- NTRES 4100 - Advanced Conservation Biology: Concepts and Techniques
- NTRES 4200 - [Forest Ecology]
- NTRES 4560 - Stream Ecology (crosslisted)
- PLBIO 4400 - [Phylogenetic Systematics]
- PLHRT 4730 - Ecology of Agricultural Systems (crosslisted)
- PLSCS 4660 - Soil Ecology
Students are encouraged to gain experience in some aspect of field biology through course work at a biological field station and can apply up to 6 credits in the place of courses from Groups B or C. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology concentrators may apply credits from:
a) Courses in Groups B and C taken at the Shoals Marine Laboratory (BIOSM).
b) Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) Undergraduate Semester Abroad Program (3 credits each for Fundamentals in Tropical Biology and Field Research in Tropical Biology for a total of 6 credits).
c) Any other field course, with approval from their academic advisor and the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Director of Undergraduate Studies.