Regents OK Doctorate in Ecology, Evolutionary Biology

Posted: 5/25/11

The University of Texas System Board of Regents recently approved a doctoral program in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) at The University of Texas at El Paso.

Scheduled for final review by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in July, the EEB doctoral program will become UTEP’s 19th doctoral degree and will be available to students beginning in the Fall 2011 semester.  It is expected to complement the existing Pathobiology Ph.D. program and the Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Engineering. These degree programs are critical building blocks as UTEP continues its quest to become the first national research (Tier One) university with a 21st century student demographic.

This program will prepare students to assess the impact of humans on our living environment, on sustainability of life in arid lands, and to promote practical solutions to protecting and improving our environment. Students will have opportunities to investigate the impact of a warming and drying climate by studying areas such as biodiversity, conservation biology, ecological and evolutionary genetics, experimental ecology, metadata analysis, phylogeny reconstruction, environmental bioassesment, climate change, geographic information systems, and remote sensing. Their training and new skill set will be important to understand the world’s complex ecosystems, particularly in arid and semi-arid settings, and devise innovative strategies to understand and perhaps offer responses to these global trends.

Capacity-building to support this degree program has occurred over the past 10 years, including many specialized technologies and facilities, including field stations positioned around the world, to provide students with exceptional educational opportunities.

“UTEP already has a number of assets in place for this EEB program. Besides an energetic and committed biological sciences faculty, the University is physically located in the biodiverse Chihuahuan Desert,” said Carl S. Lieb, Ph.D., professor of biological sciences. “This location serves as a platform for the study of extreme environments regionally and in other parts of the world, from the poles to the tropics.”

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