Systematics and Evolutionary Biology
As an interdisciplinary school with roots in an array of research fields, SBE investigates questions on evolution, adaption, and diversification of a broad variety of organisms, including fungi, seed-bearing plants, and vertebrate and invertebrate animals. We study evidence for contemporary evolutionary change, adaptations species make as they invade novel environments, the role of evolutionary change in ecological processes, functional morphology, and the systematics of various taxa among the fungi, conifers, flowering plants, and lower invertebrates. Mechanisms of speciation and implications of contemporary evolution for conservation biology are especially important fields of research in SBE.
Our research is funded by a variety of sources, from national (e.g., the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Agriculture, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and US Fish & Wildlife) to local interests (e.g., blueberry growers, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife), and it involves cooperative effort with other departments dealing with aspects of biodiversity and conservation biology, such as the Department of Wildlife Ecology, the School of Marine Sciences, the School of Forestry, the Ecology and Environmental Sciences program, and the Climate Change Institute.