Importance of Natural Resources

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Brown

Evolutionary biology is the science of change. There is just something
that is fascinating about biological
diversity that just creates the sense of curiosity. Where all this is coming from? What’s driving it? That curiosity for understanding
when all the diversity of life comes from sort of
overlaps with a sense of urgency for conservation. It’s incredibly exciting. DAVID RAND: This
department and this field in general, spans a huge range
from ecological applications, environmental applications,
evolutionary, even to dinosaurs. So it’s a huge spectrum,
but this uniting theme of how organisms function is
really what ties us together. And that’s what makes it
a special place to work. ARMITA MANAFZADEH: Our
professors treat us like colleagues and they
take our ideas really seriously here. To have conversations with
ecologists and population geneticists and all these
people from across the span of ecology and
evolutionary biology, is really valuable because
you get perspectives that you wouldn’t
have even imagined. STEPHEN PORDER: We have a
real breadth of interest. But what we share is a
passion for training people to think critically
about the questions that they’re most interested in. And the motivation
for that could be purely wanting to understand
on a theoretical basis how evolution occurs. Or it could be a
motivation to think about how we could possibly
make it through the 21st century without catastrophic
challenges to both humans and all other organisms
on the planet. JOAQUIN NUNEZ: Brown has
a very strong culture of intellectual passion. And that permeates every level
of its academic structure. ARMITA MANAFZADEH: Being
around this level of science is totally incomparable. The things that I found
challenging three years ago seem so trivial now, and I feel
I can take on so much more. STEPHEN PORDER: It’s really
this evolution of the student, from the day they walk
in, to the day they leave. And when they leave,
they are fully fledged scientists who are
ready to go on and tackle their own questions. DAVID RAND: You can’t do
this by a sense of duty, you have to do this with a sense
of excitement and curiosity. We have the freedom and the
opportunities in some respects, the responsibility
to pursue new ideas. Because if you don’t,
no one else will. JOAQUIN NUNEZ: The best
way to find answers to these challenges
is to look outside of the traditional
thinking on the field. And so that is
actually something that makes our department
so incredibly competitive. That interaction of those
fields that would otherwise look completely separated
but that are heavily, heavily integrated under the umbrella
of ecology and evolution, to make some incredible science.

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