Amid increasing concern about the health of ecosystems and endangered species, expertise in systematics and ecology is more important than ever. GW’s Systematics, Evolution and Ecology (SEE) program is one of the few in the world specializing in the principles and methods of phylogenetic analysis and comparative biology, putting the university at the forefront of biodiversity studies.
Students in the SEE focus area explore the complexities of evolution over time and the ecological interactions of species with each other and the environment. Ecology research emphasizes the accumulation of baseline data and assessment of potential biological indicators of ecosystem disturbances.
To complement their classroom education, students can follow fieldwork to the Amazon Basin, Brazilian savanna, Australian rainforests, the Gobi Desert of China, the islands of the South Pacific and Sri Lanka as well as the mid-Atlantic and midwestern United States. The program also hosts a regular course in Costa Rica and has access to curators and collections at the world-class Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.