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Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology

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Graduate Interdisciplinary Specializations

Graduate specializations offer graduate students the opportunity to complete a course of study utilizing courses and faculty from several different fields. Participants must apply for admission and be admitted to a ‘regular’ graduate program.

Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology

St. John 101
3190 Maile Way
Honolulu, HI 96822
Tel: (808) 956-9636
Fax: (808) 956-3923
Email: eecb@hawaii.edu
Web: www.hawaii.edu/eecb/

Graduate Faculty

C. W. Morden, PhD (Chair)—molecular systematics and evolution of Hawaiian plants
L. Arita-Tsutsumi, PhD—behavioral ecology of insects
K. E. Barton, PhD—evolutionary ecology
B. Bowen, PhD—phylogeography, evolution and conservation, genetics of marine vertebrates
R. L. Cann, PhD—conservation genetics and molecular evolution
K. S. Cole, PhD—evolution of sexual patterns, behavioral ecology
R. H. Cowie, PhD—evolutionary biology and conservation of land and freshwater snails
C. C. Daehler, PhD—invasive plants, plant-insect interactions
M. J. deMaintenon, PhD—evolution of gastropod organogenetic patterns
D. Drake, PhD—plant ecology, conservation biology, plant-animal interactions
D. C. Duffy, PhD—conservation biology (basic and applied)
L. A. Freed, PhD—evolutionary ecology, behavioral ecology and conservation biology
M. Hixon, PhD—marine ecology and conservation biology
B. S. Holland, PhD—molecular ecology, systematics and conservation genetics
T. Idol, PhD—forest soils and nutrient cycling
K. Y. Kaneshiro, PhD—sexual selection and biology of small populations
S. C. Keeley, PhD—plant molecular systematics and evolution
C. M. Litton, PhD—ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry of forested systems
W. J. Mautz, PhD—environmental physiology, environmental toxicology, ecological energetics, respiration physiology, and herpetology
M. D. Merlin, PhD—biogeography, ethnobotany, Pacific natural history
R. Ostertag, PhD—community structure and nutrient dynamics of tropical forests
D. K. Price, PhD—evolutionary genetics of behaviors
D. Rubinoff, PhD—insect systematics, conservation biology, and the evolution of ecological traits
A. R. Sherwood, PhD—evolution, systematics and population genetics of Hawaiian algae
C. M. Smith, PhD—physiological ecology of marine macrophytes, marine ecology
A. D. Taylor, PhD—population and community ecology and environmental statistics
A. Teramura, PhD—environmental stress physiology, global climate change, ecosystem analysis and biodiversity
R. Thomson, PhD—evolutionary biology, phylogenetics, and conservation
T. Ticktin, PhD—ethnoecology and conservation biology
R. Toonen, PhD—population biology and larval ecology of marine invertebrates
T. Tricas, PhD—behavior and sensory biology of sharks, rays and reef fishes

Affiliate Graduate Faculty

A. Allison, PhD—systematics and population biology
C. Birkeland, PhD—coral reef ecology and management, marine community ecology
E. Campbell, PhD—invasive species
D. Carlon, PhD—population regulation, life-history evolution and speciation
S. Conant, PhD (Emerita)—conservation biology, life history and ecology of Hawaiian birds
N. L. Evenhuis, PhD—systematics and evolution of Diptera
A. M. Friedlander, PhD—nearshore fisheries
R. A. Kinzie, PhD (Emeritus)—aquatic ecology, coral reefs and tropical streams
J. E. Maragos, PhD—human impact on marine ecosystems and coral reefs
D. Ragone, PhD—Pacific Island ethnobotany, especially conservation and use of traditional crops, focusing on breadfruit

The Academic Program

The objectives of the interdisciplinary graduate specialization in ecology, evolution, and conservation biology (EECB) are to:

  • Use the unique opportunities that Hawai'i offers to integrate tropical population biology and natural history studies with modern laboratory techniques;
  • Provide the interdisciplinary, conceptual, and technical training that will allow our graduates to participate in academic and research programs in ecology, evolution, and conservation biology; and
  • Foster scholarly training in research programs involving expertise in ecology, evolution, and conservation biology.

Modern theories of ecology, evolution, and conservation biology share a core of concepts and techniques that span classical academic disciplines. This common core, coupled with the emergence of powerful new technologies, invites cross-disciplinary approaches that generate many of today's most exciting scientific advances.

The EECB program provides opportunities for students at UH Mânoa to expand their knowledge and gain experience in this integrative discipline. Our interdisciplinary graduate program brings together faculty members from graduate programs in the departments of Anthropology, Botany, Cell and Molecular Biology, Geography, Microbiology, Natural Resources and Environmental Management, Oceanography, Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences, Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences, and Zoology–with all their skills and technologies–to provide the training students need to contribute effectively to this research area.

EECB is implemented as a “specialization” within existing graduate programs of the departments whose faculty participate in this program. This means that the primary duties and responsibilities of each EECB student are to satisfy the requirements of their own home academic department. The EECB specialization serves to allow students to expand beyond the traditional departmental boundaries in terms of formulating research questions, choosing thesis/dissertation committee members and taking academic courses. EECB graduate students can be enrolled in either the doctor of philosophy or master of science degree in their home department.

Students accepted to the EECB graduate specialization must already have been accepted into the graduate program of the various departments participating in the EECB program. Course work in statistics, organic chemistry, biochemistry, genetics, evolution, and ecology are considered most important for preparing students for graduate studies.

Details on the EECB program and application forms can be found at the EECB website www.hawaii.edu/eecb/.

Admission Procedures and Policy

Only students that have been accepted and are currently enrolled in a graduate program in one of the cooperating academic departments at UH Manoa can be admitted. New students applying to UH Manoa will be considered.

All applicants must submit (by email directly to the EECB Chair):

  • Letter expressing your interest in EECB (up to 3 pages), including, at a minimum
    – information on past academic experience
    – goals for graduate study in general and graduate study in EECB in particular
    – what you feel you can contribute to EECB
    – what you expect to gain by participation in EECB
  • Letter of support from your EECB faculty sponsor

Students enrolled at UH Manoa may be admitted to EECB in either the fall or spring semester. Application deadlines are February 1 and October 15. Successful applicants are admitted the following semester.

Your original UH Manoa application may be obtained directly by the EECB office from Graduate Education and does not need to be submitted with your application to EECB.

Admission Criteria

Details can be found on the EECB website: www.hawaii.edu/eecb/.

Course Requirements for Specialization in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology

Course requirements for ALL EECB graduate students:

  • Complete all degree requirements of the home academic department
  • Participate in EECB activities, particularly the Evoluncheon seminar series
  • One course in ecology at the 600 or 700 level (at least 2 credits with an A or B grade)
  • One course in evolution at the 600 or 700 level (at least 2 credits with an A or B grade)
  • One course in conservation biology at the 600 or 700 level (at least 2 credits with an A or B grade)

Acceptable graduate (600-700 level) courses currently being offered are listed below. Because some offerings change from semester to semester, consult the EECB webpage for an updated list.

In addition to course requirements for the specialization in EECB, each academic department has its own course requirements. Courses from the EECB course list that are taken to fulfill departmental requirements can also be used to fulfill EECB requirements, however, a single course can only satisfy one of the three EECB requirements.

Course Offerings

(Updated October 2013)

New courses or one-time offerings not listed here but approved by the EECB curriculum committee may also count towards the ecology, evolution, or conservation biology requirement. Please check the EECB website for updates and consult with the graduate education committee for acceptions.


  • ANTH 606 Anthropology of Infectious Disease (3)
  • BOT 644 Ethnoecological Methods (3)
  • BOT 651 Invasion Biology (3)
  • BOT/ZOOL 652 Population Biology (3)
  • BOT 676 Environmental Physiology Seminar (2)
  • IS 650 Principles of Applied Evolutionary Ecology (3)
  • MICR 680 Advances in Microbial Ecology (3)
  • NREM 680 Ecosystem Ecology (3)
  • NREM 682 Restoration Ecology (3)
  • OCN 626 Marine Microplankton Ecology
  • OCN 627 Ecology of Pelagic Marine Animals (3)
  • OCN 628 Benthic Biological Oceanography (4)
  • OCN 629 Molecular Methods in Marine Ecology (2)
  • PEPS 671 Insect Ecology (3)
  • ZOOL 606 Principles of Animal Behavior (2)
  • ZOOL 606L Principles of Animal Behavior Lab (1)
  • ZOOL 620 Marine Ecology (3)
  • ZOOL 623 Quantitative Field Ecology (3)
  • ZOOL 652 Population Biology (3)


  • ANTH 604 Biological Anthropology Core (3)
  • BIOL 603 Molecular Ecology (3)
  • BOT 661 Hawaiian Vascular Plants (3)
  • BOT 669 Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution (3)
  • CMB 625 Advanced Topics in Genetics (2)
  • CMB 650 Population Genetics (3)
  • MICR 671 Bacterial Genetics (3)
  • PEPS 662 Systematics and Phylogenetics (3)
  • PEPS 691 Biogeography Seminar (2)
  • TPSS 615 Quantitative Genomics and Evolution (3)
  • ZOOL 606 Principles of Animal Behavior (2)
  • ZOOL 606L Principles of Animal Behavior Lab (1)

Conservation Biology

  • ANTH 620H Ecology (3)
  • BOT 651 Invasion Biology (3)
  • BOT/ZOOL 690 Conservation Biology (3)
  • OCN 621 Biological Oceanography (3)
  • PEPS 675 Biological Control of Pests (3)
  • TCBES 600 (UH Hilo) Conservation Biology and Environmental Science (3)

Content Varies (but may count towards a specific area, depending the topic)

  • ANTH 620 Theory in Social and Cultural Anthropology (3)
  • BOT 612 Advanced Botanical Problems (V)
  • BOT 620 Perspectives in Modern Botany (2)
  • BOT 654 Advances in Plant Ecology (2)
  • BOT 750 Topics in Conservation Biology (V)
  • GEOG 750 Research Seminar: Biogeography (3)
  • GEOG 752 Research Seminar: Resource Management (3)
  • GEOG 758 Research Seminar: Conservation (3)
  • NREM 691 Advanced Topics in NREM (3)
  • PEPS 691 Special Topics (V)
  • ZOOL 714 Topics in Animal Behavior (V)
  • ZOOL 719 Topics in Systematics and Evolution (V)
  • ZOOL 739 Topics in Ecology (V)
  • ZOOL 750 Topics in Conservation Biology (V)

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