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Evolution and Ecology

Ecology is a very diverse field within biology that accommodates interests in all kinds of organisms and biological communities, and their interactions with each other and the environment. Ecological work often takes you to outdoor field sites, but much of it also has a laboratory component, and/or a mathematical emphasis on modeling and computer assisted data analysis. Since there is increasing concern throughout society in environmental problems and the conservation of biodiversity, there is an array of diverse career opportunities available to a biology major who specializes in ecology. For instance, townships, counties, states and the federal government all have agencies that employ ecologically trained biologists to work on wildlife management and monitoring, rare plant conservation and land use policy and planning. There are also many private environmental organizations such as The Nature Conservatory that offer scientific positions to do similar work. Environmental education is a growing field with uncountable field stations, nature centers, and schools needing people with broad training in field biology to teach school and public programs about nature and ecology. Advanced degrees in ecology lead to teaching and research careers in academe, or high-level research and policy positions with government or conservation organizations. The following courses, in addition to the Biology core and Chemistry support courses would be very useful if you are planning a career in Ecology:


  • BIO 312 Microbiology
  • BIO 315 Plants and People
  • BIO 332 Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
  • BIO 341 Biology of Seed Plants
  • BIO 342 Biology of the Invertebrates
  • BIO 343 General Entomology
  • BIO 350 Biology of Fungi
  • BIO 352 Biometry
  • BIO 370 Oceanography
  • BIO ___ Conservation Biology (if available)
  • BIO 371 Evolution
  • BIO 375 Environmental Quality, Protection and Health
  • BIO 465 Physiological Ecology and Behavior
  • BIO 363 Marine Consortium Introduction to Marine Biology
  • BIO 471 Field Botany and Plant Systematics
  • BIO 493 Independent Research with one of the faculty members doing research in ecology or evolution


  • MAT 127-128 Calculus A and B
  • STA 215 Statistical Inference (much more desirable to take MAT 410)
  • IDS 105 Applying Computing to Mathematical Problem Solving (at the very least)


  • GOL 120 Introduction to Geology
  • GOL 220 Geology II