Ecosystems and Adaptation

Students in scuba gear studying in the ocean.

The subject matter of Ecosystems and Adaptation is broad-ranging and encompasses the interactions between organism and environment responsible for the history of life on earth. 

Who We Are

Mary Alice Coffroth – Evolutionary Biology and Ecology, Population Biology of Marine Invertebrates

Howard L. Lasker – Evolutionary Biology and Ecology, Population Ecology of Marine Invertebrates

Charles E. Mitchell – Paleobiology, Biostratigraphy, Appalachian Basin history, Ordovician geology


What We Do

We characterize how organisms interact with each other and their environment and how those interactions change over time. These interactions are essential to both applied and basic topics, such as the studies of human origins (paleoanthropology), biodiversity over space (community ecology) and time (paleobiology); the function and evolution of body plans and life histories (evolutionary ecology), the origins of social systems (socioecology); the effects of climate change; and biotic invasions on ecosystems, conservation, bioremediation, and epidemiology.  

Ecosystems and Adaptation research within the Department of Geology ranges from the paleobiology of graptolites to the population genetics of modern coral reef invertebrates. The research foci of our faculty are on studies of marine and aquatic invertebrates and the ecological and evolutionary scale interactions between the environment and morphological, physiological, and genetic traits.