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Ecology

Ecology

Covering basic and applied aspects of ecology, with research and teaching ranging from the molecular to the biosphere level

Program overview

Ecologists study how organisms interact with each other and with their environments.

Penn State's Intercollege Graduate Degree Program in Ecology:

  • Provides students with a sound understanding of ecological theory and hypothesis testing
  • Complements other Penn State environmental programs that emphasize the role of humans in ecosystems
  • Offers options to take courses and undertake research in a variety of ecological areas, from the molecular to the biosphere level
  • Offers both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. M.S. degree requirements are usually completed within two years. The Ph.D. degree requires three or more years of research beyond the M.S. level. B.S. level applicants with good academic records who have had strong training in ecology and related courses, including research experience, are encouraged to apply directly to the Ph.D. program.

Program faculty

The program involves more than 50 faculty working in a range of disciplines, including:

Study systems include

Faculty Spotlight
Assistant Professor of Entomology and Biology
News
The small body size associated with the pygmy phenotype is probably a selective adaptation for rainforest hunter-gatherers, according to an international team of researchers that includes Huck Institutes faculty scientist George Perry, but all African pygmy phenotypes do not have the same genetic underpinning, suggesting a more recent adaptation than previously thought. Pygmy phenotype developed many times, adaptive to rainforest - Full article
A parasitic fungus that must kill its ant hosts outside their nest to reproduce and transmit its infection, manipulates its victims to die in the vicinity of the colony, ensuring a constant supply of potential new hosts, according to researchers at Penn State and colleagues at Brazil's Federal University of Vicosa. Zombie ant fungi manipulate hosts to die on the 'doorstep' of the colony - Full article
A new discovery of two additional coral communities showing signs of damage from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill expands the impact footprint of the 2010 spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Impact of Deepwater Horizon oil spill found on two additional coral communities - Full article