We seek to address fundamental ecological and evolutionary questions, both basic and applied, through collaborative research initiatives and innovative ecological, evolutionary, and genomic approaches.
Thoughtful study of ecology and evolution gives us the scientific expertise to address both basic and applied research questions, including environmental problems ranging from habitat destruction and environmental contamination to global warming, each of which can change the environment in which organisms (including ourselves) live and interact with one another.
Faculty and their research groups in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology are tackling some of the most important questions for the future of life on earth. We study perhaps the three most important kinds of organisms for our future: plants, insects, and microbes. We have a strong focus on plant biology, a concentration in insect biology, plus groups studying microorganisms and vertebrates. We have a strong conceptual focus on cooperation and mutualism, interactions within and between species that benefit both partners and are central to all habitats and ecosystems worldwide. Our conceptual foci range from genome organization, adaptive gene evolution, genetic population structure, hybridization, speciation, evolutionarily stable strategies, social evolution, and phenotypic selection to breeding plans for endangered species, population dynamics, community structure, food web dynamics, invasive species, and mutualisms.