Biology began at Rice in 1912 with the appointment of Julian Huxley as the biology professor. Julian Huxley was the grandson of Thomas H. Huxley, a biologist himself and champion of Charles Darwin. Julian made many important contributions to the fields of ethology, ecology and cancer research, and was a powerful proponent of neo-Darwinism. His efforts are commemorated by the Huxley Fellows program, in which recent Ph.D. recipients are appointed for 2-3 year (non-tenure) faculty positions in EEB.
The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology was formed in 1989, and has strengths in intraspecific cooperation (social evolution), interspecific interactions, mutualism, plant-insect interactions, invasive species, genomics, molecular evolution, speciation, and organismal strengths in plants, insects, and microbes. We are housed in the first and second floors of Anderson Biology Lab with the department greenhouse adjacent to the building.
Faculty members are leaders in their fields, famous for solving important questions, and for involving undergraduates in the excitement of research. This Department is ready to pioneer new areas and to lead not only at Rice but on the global stage. Indeed, their interactions with the Texas Medical Center have contributed to recent pioneering work that has garnered significant international visibility in the understanding of social behavior at the genetic level.
Most faculty serve on editorial boards and professional committees, participate in national and international organizations, guide graduate students, and serve the university and the larger community in many capacities. Frequent seminars are given by visitors from major U.S. and international universities. These stimulate collaborative research efforts and provide a forum for the interchange of ideas.