Students in our program work on a variety of research topics in ecology and evolutionary biology.


Faculty in the Department of Ecology and Evolution are interested in an array of evolutionary and ecological aspects of animal behavior. Active research projects include the sexual selection and mating systems in birds, animal communication and sexual dimorphism (Pruett-Jones), behavioral aspects of speciation (Price), behavioral aspects of species interactions and their consequences for marine communities (Wootton), and the effects of caterpillar foraging behavior on host-parasite dynamics (Dwyer).

Faculty: Stephen Pruett-Jones, Trevor Price, Greg Dwyer, Timothy Wootton


Ecological research within the department spans many levels of organization, from gene networks to ecosystem ecology. In all research programs, there is a strong emphasis on rigorously testing ecological theory with empirical data. Weekly ecology reading groups and multi-lab collaborations foster interdisciplinary dynamics within the department. Active study areas include the genetics of plant-bacterial interactions and ecological genetics (Bergelson), insect-virus interactions and disease epidemic modeling (Dwyer), ecosystem effects of species fluctuations and species interactions (Pfister), evolution of ecological niches in birds (Price), extinction effects in intertidal communities and river food web ecology (Wootton), the structure of food webs and other biological networks (Allesina), microbial ecology (Bergelson), dynamics of biological diversity and metapopulations in Lepidopterans (Kronforst) and biological impacts of global change in coastal communities (Pfister and Wootton).

Faculty: Stefano Allesina, Joy Bergelson, Greg Dwyer, Marcus Kronforst, Catherine Pfister, Trevor Price, Timothy Wootton

Evolution and Genetics

The department is world-famous center for evolutionary research. Historically strong in evolutionary theory, today the department also prides itself in using new technologies to answer fundamental questions in genetic variation and evolution. The evolution of genetic variation, gene networks, development, and mechanisms of speciation are some of the main focuses of current faculty research. A number of model organisms, including Drosophila, Arabidopsis, yeast, and C. elegans are being studied, as well as an increasing number of non-model organisms, all within a framework of linking short-term microevolutionary processes with long-term evolutionary patterns. For more information on specific research projects, please visit the faculty web pages listed below.

Faculty: Joy Bergelson, Greg Dwyer, Martin Kreitman, Manyuan Long, Catherine Pfister, Trevor Price, Stephen Pruett-Jones, Timothy Wootton, Chung-I Wu