What can you do with a degree in Ecology & Biodiversity?

Academically, Sewanee EcoBio students take advantage of a wide diversity of environmental courses offered within and outside of the Biology Department. Many EcoBio students are engaged in independent research with our faculty that requires considerable use of our Domain, and nearly all of our classes take advantage of the Domain in one way or another. Classes outside of the Biology department complement your major such as environmental politics, statistics, or geology.

Sewanee’s EcoBio students are active on campus and take advantage of a diversity of on and off campus experiences. Students regularly participate in the Island Ecology Program, study abroad, and summer undergraduate research fellowships on campus with Sewanee faculty. EcoBio students are leaders in environmental organizations like the Green House, Sewanee’s Outing Program, University Farm, Sustain Sewanee, and a host of other organizations like Sewanee’s Natural History Society, Sewanee Bird Club or Herbarium.

At graduation, Sewanee EcoBio students are well-prepared for their next steps. Although many areas of environmental sciences require more advanced study, our students move from Sewanee into state and federal agencies, conservation organizations and land trusts, state and national parks, AmeriCorps, as well as professional research positions, post-baccalaureate fellowships and graduate programs. Employers regularly comment that our students are familiar with common techniques, comfortable with the hands-on nature of the field, and ready to handle the challenges of their job.

What does your coursework look like?

Your coursework will engage ecology and evolution through experiential learning. Your courses will actively use the Domain to illustrate concepts, and our faculty feel strongly that independent inquiry to investigate patterns and processes is a key part of the learning experience in ecology, evolution, and behavior.

  • You will gain experience with the broad foundation of biology
    • Field Investigations in Biology (BIOL130)
    • Introductory Molecular Biology and Genetics (BIOL133)
  • You will investigate the critical foundation of ecology and evolution
    • Ecology (BIOL210)
    • Evolutionary Biology (BIOL213)
    • Genetics (BIOL223 or 224)
  • You will dive deeper into a subdiscipline of ecology and evolutionary biology
    Four courses must be taken from the following list or the human dimensions list



Plant Ecology

Research Methods in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior

Environmental Physiology of Plants

Rainforests and Coral Reefs


Cave Biology

Freshwater Biology

Plant Evolution and Systematics

Behavioral Ecology

Genes and Behavior

Advanced Topics in Ecology or Evolution

Environment and Development

Island Ecology

Where do we work?
  • Sewanee Domain (Sewanee Experimental Forest)
    • Dick’s Cove
    • Vernal pool
    • Others?
  • Sewanee Constructed Wetlands
  • Sapelo Coastal LTER Site
  • Belize
  • Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute
  • Coweeta Hydrologic Lab/Highlands Biological Station
  • Arnold Air Force Base
  • The lab
  • Study abroad: South Africa, The Galapagos
What types of questions do our faculty address?

Cecala: We investigate mechanisms associated with changes in the ecology of freshwater ecosystems including amphibians, reptiles, and fish. We work in the field and in the lab to carry out observational and manipulative studies coupled with modeling to understand how environmental change is likely to affect populations and the communities they occupy.

Schrader: We study the evolution and ecology or parental care. Most of our work focuses on burying beetles.

Zigler: We study invertebrate animals, focusing on cave biodiversity in Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia.

How do you get involved with research in the Biology Department at Sewanee?

How- think about what fascinates you! Do you love plants? Want to work in caves? Amphibians and Reptiles?

When- The sooner the better!

Honors: requirements for honors in biology

Available resources:

  • SURF fellowships
  • Herbarium Fellows

Opportunities off campus

  • TN Plant Conservation Alliance
  • TN Aquarium
  • TN River Gorge Trust
  • Atlanta Botanical Garden
  • Internships with state/federal land management agencies
  • Belize
  • Study Abroad - OTS
  • Sapelo