Ecology & Evolution

What is Ecology and Evolution?

The Ecology and Evolution major introduces students to the processes that result in the diversity and dynamics of ecological communities, and the evolutionary principles that unify the biological sciences.

Ecology and evolutionary biology are highly integrative disciplines that draw together essentially all of the topics in modern biology under a single framework of principles and theory. Ecologists and evolutionary biologists explain past and present patterns of abundance, distribution, and diversity of organisms. In order to do so, ecologists and evolutionary biologists must be familiar with current knowledge across a broad range of specialized fields, from molecular and population genetics to the mechanisms and history of plate tectonics.

Ecology and Evolution at UCSB

UCSB is ideally located for field studies in ecology and evolutionary biology. The campus is on the coast within easy reach of marsh, shoreline, deep-water and island habitats. It is bordered inland by the two million acre Los Padres National Forest, which offers an extensive array of protected terrestrial environments. The department has extensive sea-water laboratory facilities and greenhouses, active vertebrate museum and herbarium programs, and outdoor laboratories that include facilities in the Sierra Nevada and on Santa Cruz Island. The department's 26-member faculty offers over 50 upper-division (junior and senior level) courses. These include laboratory and field studies, lectures and seminars, and independent studies and group projects. These faculty members conduct extensive research projects in which undergraduate and graduate participation is welcomed and encouraged.

UCSB’s Ecology and Evolution major is one of the strongest and most diverse programs in the country. All students interested in any area of the biological sciences, including ecology and evolution, will enter UCSB as a pre-biological sciences major. Pre-biology majors share a common core curriculum, typically completed during the freshman and sophomore years, consisting of introductory biology with laboratory, general chemistry with laboratory, mathematics (calculus and statistics), physics with laboratory, and for many of the majors, an additional two to three terms of organic chemistry with laboratory. Note: the Ecology and Evolution major does not require organic chemistry. After completion of key preparatory coursework, students may petition to declare the full major.

Major, General, and Career Information

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