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Graduate Program in Ecology and Evolution

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Welcome to the Graduate Program in Ecology and Evolution


Mission Statement

The Ecology and Evolution Graduate Program at Rutgers University aims to foster a diverse environment rich in critical thinking and open communication.  We are committed to mentoring the next generation of scientists to solve 21st century problems and be stewards to our planet.

About the Program

Ecology and Evolution at Rutgers has a long and distinguished history. The E&E graduate program includes approximately 80 faculty and 50 graduate students. The program faculty is comprised of roughly 25 professors who are members the undergraduate Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources, the remaining members of the graduate program hail from other departments and campuses. The graduate program is interdisciplinary in nature and offers graduate education and training in microbial, plant, animal, and human ecology under the direction of outstanding faculty located at three campuses (New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden); two marine stations (in Tuckerton and Bivalve); the Pinelands Field Station in New Lisbon; and the Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York.

Members of the faculty actively pursue research in conservation biology, ecosystem ecology, evolutionary biology, marine biology, microbial ecology, population and community ecology, population genetics, and restoration ecology.

Students may study toward either M.S. or Ph.D. degrees. An M.S. is not required to enter the Ph.D. program. The graduate program falls under the auspices the School of Graduate Studies from which the final degrees are conferred.

The application deadline for fall 2021 has passed. The program does not have a spring admissions. Note that fall 2022 deadline for application submission to be considered for an internal fellowship is December 15, 2021. Learn more about the application process.

News and Announcements

Trapping live red foxes at the Jersey Shore!

Chris Crosby, a Ph.D. student in the Maslo lab, along with Kathleen Kerwin, the Maslo lab Project Manager, and Ryan Schilling, an undergraduate within the DEENR major are currently live trapping red foxes along the New Jersey Shore. Dr. Maslo and Chris Crosby were featured in the Atlantic City Press. Read the article here: Rutgers Trapping Foxes Along Shore

E&E alumni and faculty research highlighted in JSTOR.

"Scientists Nicholas B. Pollock, Natalie Howe, Ivelisse Irizarry, Nicholas Lorusso, Ariel Kruger, Kurtis Himmler, and Lena Struwe suggest that longer-term “personal BioBlitzes” can be beneficial in combating “species blindness” and the lack of awareness of biodiversity, even in heavily urban areas."

In JSTOR Daily -

Congratulations to Dylan Simpson

Dylan recently received the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Fund, a wildlife and conservation research grant.

Congratulations to Elizabeth Bouchard

Elizabeth was acknowledged for having the best poster at this year's virtual Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE) event. Her presentation was titled: Assessing the distribution of horseshoe crab eggs in relation to interitdal oyster aquaculture in Delaware Bay and red knot foraging distribution.

Congratulations to Julia Van Etten

Congratulations to Julia Van Etten on her article on horizontal gene transfer. She used her Couch Microscopy project to create the cover! View the article here: Red Algal Extremophiles: Novel Genes and Paradigms

Congratulations to Katrina Catalano

Katrina was featured in the SEBS/NJAES newsroom in January as a lead author for her work on clownfish. You can read more here: SEBSNJAESNewsroom

Congratulations to Julia Van Etten

Julia received a NASA Future Investigators in NASA Earth and Space Science and Technology (FINESST) grant. This 3-year grant will support Julia and her research on generating a mechanistic understanding of horizontal gene transfer as a driver of cell adaptation on the early earth.

Congratulations to Mike Acquafredda

Mike is the recipient of a John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship - a National Sea Grant College Program that provides one-year fellowships working in federal government offices in Washington, D.C.

Congratulations to Chris Martine

Congratulations to alumnus Chris Martine (MS 2001) on the receipt of the Peter Raven Award from the American Society of Plant Taxonomists.
Read more about Chris Martine's award.

Congratulations to LaShanda Williams

LaShanda Williams received an NSF DDIG in biological anthropology which will allow LaShanda to collaborate with researchers at the Laboratories of Molecular Anthropology and Microbiome Research (LMAMR) to conduct data analysis at their specialized ancient DNA lab in Norman OK.

Trees change sex in response to stress

Jennifer Blake-Mahmud's research on striped maples reveals that they can change sex in response to environmental stresses.
Read more about Jennifer Blake-Mahmud's research.

The complete article in Springer and a write-up in The Washington Post

Marine Mammal Commission under threat of elimination

Alex Safiq has an article in Scientific American on the elimination of the Marine Mammal Commission in President Trump's proposed budget. Read more about Alex Safiq's article.

For more up-to-the-minute news check the DEENR website.

Rafael Valentin Awarded the Invasion Ecology Best Presentation at the Ecological Society of America 2017 Annual Meeting and has received two external grants to support his research.

Rafael Valentin, a graduate student in both the Lockwood lab and Fonseca lab, has been awarded two graduate student research grants for his novel research utilizing environmental DNA (eDNA) in terrestrial systems.
Read more about Rafael Valentin's award.

Jennifer Blake-Mahmud Awarded Best Oral Paper in the Physiology Section at Botany 2017 Conference

Jennifer Blake-Mahmud, a PhD Candidate in the lab of Dr. Lena Struwe, won the award for the Best Oral Paper in the Physiology Section at the Botany 2017 conference in Fort Worth, Texas, in June 2017.
Read more about Jennifer Blake-Mahmud's award.

Congratulations to Cara Faillace on receipt of two GSNB Awards

Graduate student Cara Faillace recently received two 2017 awards from the Graduate School New Brunswick. Cara’s 2017 Dean’s Research Award reflects her outstanding research accomplishments, including recent high-profile first-authored publications in Nature Ecology & Evolution and Ecology Letters. In particular, Cara’s Nature Ecology & Evolution article was featured in a “News and Views” piece in the first issue of Nature Ecology & Evolution and has received attention from a number of online news outlets, including Rutgers Today and Eurekalert!, the news website of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Cara’s 2017 Graduate Student Teaching Award reflects her excellence as a Teaching Assistant in a number of ecology classes and as the sole instructor of her own original class titled “Seminar in Invasion Ecology”. ?Cara independently developed this upper-division course for undergraduate majors with the support of a 2015 Dissertation Teaching Award. Cara is the first graduate student in the Graduate Program of Ecology and Evolution to receive all three graduate student awards offered by the Graduate School New Brunswick. Congratulations Cara!

Congratulations to Mike Acquafredda

Mike is a recipient of a USDA Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) 2017 Graduate Student grant award. Mike's project is titled "Breeding for thermal tolerance in farmed atlantic surfclams (Spisula solidissima)". Congratulations Mike!


E&E Graduate Program Outreach Event

  1. Our E&E Outreach Event will be held on Tuesday, April 20 at 4:00 p.m on the topic Demystifying Graduate School in Ecology and Evolution. There will be a student panel, a faculty panel, an information session and a Q&A session. The event will be hosted on Zoom. Click HERE to register now!

E&E Graduate Program Seminars

  1. E&E Graduate Program Seminars every Thursday at 4:00 p.m.. This seminar series presents speakers invited from inside and outside Rutgers University to speak on the most current research being conducted in the fields of ecology and evolution. All seminars will be held remotely during the fall 2020 semester.

Graduate Student Seminars

  1. Graduate student seminars are presented every Friday at 4:00. These seminars are informal gatherings where graduate students present their current research and other topics of interest to their peers. All seminars will be held remotely during the fall 2020 semester.


Welcome to the incoming class of Fall 2020!

  1. We are welcoming 9 new students this fall with diverse areas of interest.
  2. Andrew Aldercotte has a B.A. in economics from UC Santa Cruz and an MS in forestry from Bangor University. Andrew will be working towards his Ph.D. with Rachael Winfree.
  3. Jaelyn Bos, a Ph.D. student working with Malin Pinsky, received her B.S. from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, in environmental science.
  4. Elizabeth Bouchard will be working towards her Ph.D. with David Bushek. Elizabeth completed a B.A. in environmental science at Wheaton College.
  5. Zhuoxue Chen completed her B.S. in ecology at Rutgers University. She is working towards her M.S. with Juan Bonachela.
  6. Kelvin Chen received his B.A. in biology from Amherst College. He will be working with Peter Morin on his Ph.D.
  7. Emelie Einhorn, who will be working on her M.S. in Rick Lathrop's lab, has her B.S. in biology from Stony Brook University.
  8. Kyra Fitz has a B.S. in marine biology from UC Santa Cruz. Kyra is joining the Pinsky lab to pursue her Ph.D.
  9. Max McCarthy has a B.S. in biology from Tufts University. He will be working with Rachael Winfree towards his Ph.D.
  10. Erin McHale, who has a B.A. in biology from Rutgers, will be working on her Ph.D. with Brooke Maslo.