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Our Department

In the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) we value science and education grounded in the natural history of organisms, and have a desire to understand the patterns and processes that structure communities and ecosystems, and drive evolutionary change over all geographical and time scales. As new methods allow us to gain insight into ecological and evolutionary mechanism and function, we seek to refine fundamental concepts, to integrate findings into novel theory, and to contribute to solutions for environmental challenges. As a place of work, EEB is dynamic and friendly, committed to antiracism, and to be a safe space without harassment or discrimination of any sort, and to be as inclusive as possible (see our Diversity and Inclusion web page).

EEB faculty, students and staff pursue topics across a broad set of interlinked foci, including biogeochemistry and ecosystem science, community ecology and population biology, sustainability, environment and conservation, organismal biology, intimate organismal interactions and chemical ecology, evolutionary patterns and processes, and biological educational research. Follow this link to view Our Department in Action gallery.

Research Spotlight

During 2021, PhD student Bryce Robinson (Lovette/Fuller Lab) traveled across much of the lower 48 states to capture and sample Red-tailed Hawks in an attempt to gather an extensive range-wide sampling and uncover the evolutionary history of this highly diverse raptor. As a common and widespread species, the Red-tailed Hawk represents an excellent opportunity to understand the evolution and maintenance of traits such as plumage polymorphism, because it contains considerable diversity in plumage both between and within populations. Bryce is a member the team behind The Red-tailed Hawk Project, a research collaboration focused on the ecology and evolution of Buteo jamaicensis.

Two Red-tailed Hawk individuals showing variation in feather patterns

Photo by Bryce Robinson: Two individual Red-tailed Hawks captured in southwest Idaho; the birds were handled carefully with appropriate permits, and then released unharmed, back into the wild.

(a) A Black ornithologist is approached by law enforcement; (b) A Sikh entomologist experiences a hateful landscape; (c) A bisexual ichthyologist is accosted by hate speech; (d) A deaf botanist is verbally abused due to her disability. Illustration by Cal

“As a result of identity prejudice, certain individuals are more vulnerable to conflict and violence when they are in the field. It is paramount that all fieldworkers be informed of the risks some colleagues may face, so that they can define best practice together.” Amelia-Juliette Demery and Monique Pipkin: Safe fieldwork strategies for at-risk individuals, their supervisors and institutions. Nat Ecol Evol (2020).