Ecological Genomics and Genetics

Genomics paradigms, tools, and approaches are revolutionizing the life sciences.  As such, the training and community that this AOE offers is critical for the next generation of scientists, especially for ecologists.


Ecological genomics may be defined as “a scientific discipline that studies the structure and functioning of a genome with the aim of understanding the relationship between the organism and its biotic and abiotic environments”.  In addition to providing more research tools, the advent of genomics has allowed new scientific questions to emerge and existing questions to be answered in ways not previously considered.  Ecological Genomics and Genetics encompasses ecology, genetics, genomics, and evolutionary biology, and utilizes genetic and genomic approaches to address consequential ecological questions.  The field is becoming increasingly important as rapid advances in genomics and genomic technology provide new tools with which to evaluate, monitor, and predict the impacts of environmental changes on natural systems of organisms.  Because of the interdisciplinary and integrative nature of this AOE, students are expected to have or acquire a broad background in ecology, genetics, population biology, evolution, and systematics.

Curriculum for Masters and Ph.D. Programs

All GGE AOE students must fulfill the course requirements of the GGE.  The intent of the GGE AOE curriculum is to provide students interested in ecological genomics and genetics guidance and additional structure in their coursework.  The GGE AOE recognizes that individual students may have highly diverse interests and needs.  Modifications in the requirements of a student's course program may be made subject to the approval of the GGE AOE Adviser and Chair.

AOE Required Courses 

A.  Students must have taken the equivalent of BIS 101 (Genes and Gene Expression) or ANG 107 (Animal Genetics).
B.  ECL 242 Ecological Genetics (the core course) or equivalent (taken within the last three years).
C.  ECL 243 Ecological Genomics.  Students should take this course in winter quarter of their second year.

 The course requirements are meant to correspond to potential qualifying examination topics.  All GGE students must have five such topics.  Two of the five topics are required by the GGE for all GGE students.  These are: 1) Principles of Ecology (ECL 200 AB is taken for preparation) and 2) Research Methodology and Quantitative Skills.  The quantitative skills requirement may be satisfied with any combination of two courses, as noted in the GGE bylaws.  A third examination topic for all EGG AOE students is Ecological Genomics and Genetics.  Courses for this topic include ECL242 and ECL 243. 


Andrew Whitehead, Chair/Adviser; Environmental Toxicology, 530-754-8982

Michael Miller, Adviser; Animal Science, 530-304-4719

Ben Sacks, Adviser; Population Health and Reproduction, 530-754-9088

Jeff Ross-Ibarra; Plant Sciences, 530-752-1152