Evolution, Ecology & Biodiversity Undergraduate Program
General information about the Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity major...
As an Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity (EEB) major, you will learn about the diversity of life on Earth, including diversity in genes, physiology, shapes, sizes and behaviors. You will learn about how this diversity emerged, as plants, animals, and microbes become adapted to the environment and to each other. And you will learn to predict whether populations of interacting organisms persist over time or become extinct. Theodosius Dobzhansky, a former professor at UC Davis and one of the great biologists of the 20th century, famously said that “nothing in biology makes sense except in light of evolution.” As an EEB major, you will learn the fundamental concepts that unify the biological sciences and form the foundation for efforts in the conservation and protection of the earth’s biodiversity.
The EEB major will prepare you for a career in the life sciences, whether you are interested in conservation and restoration biology—addressing the impacts of climate change, developing plans for habitat conservation and wildlife protection, or other issues critical to maintaining a healthy planet; or health sciences—working as a medical doctor or veterinarian helping humans and non-human animals achieve healthy lives; or science education—educating students and the public on the history and diversity of life on earth and the need to conserve it; or basic research in biology—helping to expand the frontiers of knowledge by studying the evolution of organisms and their ecosystems. The list of careers for EEB graduates goes on and on.
Unlike other majors in wildlife biology and environmental biology, the EEB major prepares a student for entrance into medical or veterinary school.
Evolution and Ecology faculty designed the major requirements to ensure that students have a broad and balanced exposure to basic principles in the biological sciences. The program of study begins with a core of introductory courses in biology, mathematics and physical sciences. This is followed by basic courses in evolution, ecology and biodiversity. Within the overall guidelines set by the major, students are allowed flexibility in designing a program uniquely fitted to her/his interests. As a part of a smaller major, you have the opportunity to get to know faculty in courses focused on conducting field experiments, on marine biology at the Bodega Marine Laboratory, on animal behavior, on microbial genetics, on computational biology, and many other areas. Students may also seek opportunities to conduct independent research under the mentorship of faculty and graduate students from the Department of Evolution and Ecology or beyond.
Student Learning Outcomes for the Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity Major
- Describe the molecular and structural unity of life, explain how the diversity of living things is generated and perpetuated, and exemplify this diversity among and within life’s three domains.
- Demonstrate the fundamental processes underlying adaptive evolution, speciation and extinction, population growth and regulation, species coexistence, and maintenance of biodiversity.
- Demonstrate the ability to design and execute collection, evaluation and interpretation of scientific data.
- Demonstrate scientific literacy and skill in communication of evolutionary and ecological concepts, data, and interpretation using multiple formats appropriate for target audiences, including non-scientists.
- Apply quantitative models and data to solve problems in evolution and ecology.
- Integrate fundamental principles of evolution and ecology to study and solve problems of interest to human societies, including predicting the consequences of human activities.