Student working in field

Ecology

Investigate patterns in the interactions among organisms and their environments—from the molecule to the biosphere.

Program Overview

Students in Penn State’s Intercollege Graduate Degree Program in Ecology: 

  • Gain a thorough understanding of ecological theory and hypothesis testing
  • Conduct research that tests basic ecological theories or applies ecological principles to meet critical societal needs 
  • Engage with faculty members from across Penn State in their coursework and research
  • Develop their communication and leadership skills 
  • Earn M.S. and Ph.D. degrees

News

Penn State professor named to advisory board of National Smell and Taste Center

Penn State sensory expert John Hayes has been appointed to the external scientific advisory board of the newly established National Smell and Taste Center at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Twenty-two students receive NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

Three Huck graduate students are among twenty-two Penn State student recipients of the prestigious grant program for the 2024-25 academic year.

New tomato, potato family tree shows that fruit color and size evolved together

Fruits of Solanum plants, a group in the nightshade family, are incredibly diverse, ranging from sizable red tomatoes and purple eggplants to the poisonous green berries on potato plants. A new and improved family tree of this group, produced by an international team led by researchers at Penn State, helps explain the striking diversity of fruit colors and sizes and how they might have evolved.

Unexpected diversity of light-sensing proteins goes beyond vision in frogs

Frogs have maintained a surprising diversity of light-sensing proteins over evolutionary time, according to a new study led by a Penn State researcher. Light-sensing proteins, called opsins, enable vision in sighted animals, and are responsible for many more biological functions like regulating circadian rhythms. The researchers explored the evolution of nonvisual opsins in frogs, finding that most modern species examined in this study retained a shocking number of these proteins.