General advice for undergraduates interested in Ecology and Evolution


Photo: Shells on beach, Port Aranses, TX.

Photo: Brown algae, RI.

Photo: Katydid.

Photo: fiddler crab.

We are currently losing biodiversity at very high rates. Does this matter? What is biodiversity, how do we get and lose it, and what is it good for? This course will cover the following topics:


1) What is biodiversity, and how do we measure it? How many species are there and how are they distributed among major taxonomic and ecological groups?


2) What is the history of biodiversity? How is it gained and lost? What is causing the current mass extinction?


3) What are the ecological processes that control biodiversity?


4) Why does biodiversity matter? How does it affect ecological processes? How does it affect us? Can we assign it a dollar value?


5) What strategies are useful in preserving biodiversity?


Most students who take this class at UH are juniors or seniors. If you are interested in pursuing a career in ecology or evolutionary biology, however, you might consider taking this course as a sophomore so that you will have time during your undergraduate career to take additional ecology and evolution courses and get exposed to research in an ecology and evolution laboratory.


This class requires a high level of participation by students.  In addition to lectures, we will discuss multiple papers from the scientific literature and collect and analyze our own data. Full participation in discussions and projects is expected of everyone in the class, and will count heavily towards determining your grade.


Course materials will be posted on blackboard. 







Updated 7/2012