Ecology, Evolution and Systematics

The Department of Biology supports research in many areas of biology, both at and above the organismal level, including ecology, evolutionary biology and systematics of plants, animals and microbes. In Ecology, strong research programs exist in both terrestrial and aquatic ecology, ranging from Atlantic coastal studies to mountain habitats in the Appalachians, and spanning the scale from studies of molecular population genetics to landscape-level geographic information system (GIS) analyses. In Evolutionary Biology and Systematics, research programs include co-evolution, plant-animal interactions, comparative morphology and anatomy, speciation, phylogenetics, and biogeography.

In addition to equipment and facilities housed in the Life Sciences Building, students have access to all facilities at the Rice Center for Environmental Life Sciences, which includes frontage on the James River, a 70-acre lake, and hardwood and pine forests. Research projects frequently involve interactions with government and private agencies, including the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the Virginia Natural Heritage Program, The Nature Conservancy, the Maymont Foundation, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens.