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Ecology, Evolution and Behavior

The Concentration

The ecology, evolution and behavior concentration offers students opportunities for in-depth study of ecological systems and behavioral biology in the context of evolutionary biology. Ecology is the study of organisms and their interactions and relations with their environments, both living and non-living. Twenty-first century ecology and behavioral biology are based on robust theoretical principles and draw from many disciplines including biology, chemistry, geology, evolution, genetics, oceanography, physiology, behavior and ecotoxicology.  It encompasses wide areas of interest, extending from molecular biology to individual species to global environments. The approach to many ecological and behavioral issues is both interdisciplinary and applied.

Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at Merrimack

Merrimack College’s geographic location gives students access to diverse off-campus sites, ranging from near and off-shore marine environments to salt marshes to mountains to forests to watersheds to wetlands to lakes. This array of sites gives students access to all the terrestrial, freshwater, estuarine and marine habitats in the region. Our ‘environmental geography’ puts us in the middle of a real-world laboratory where students and faculty can engage in real-world ecological and behavioral research and investigation. 

Merrimack has well-equipped instrumentation laboratories available to students and faculty for a range of quantitative studies in water chemistry, soils, tissue analysis and environmental monitoring. 

After graduating, students have gone on to both Master’s and Doctorate graduate programs in ecology, behavior, evolution, marine biology, watershed science, environmental science, environmental policy and environmental law. Other students work for environmental consulting firms, regional conservation commissions, state and federal agencies and not-for-profit organizations. Other students have gone into environmental education, biology teaching and research.

Related Courses

Some students may wish to take advantage of the courses offered through Marine Studies Consortium, which Merrimack College is a member. The courses include:

  • BIO3010 Marine Mammals: Biology and Conservation (Taught off-campus)
  • BIO3060 Biology of Fishes (Taught at the New England Aquarium in Boston)


Larry J. Kelts Global Field Studies Program 

(Short-Term Study Abroad)

The Larry J. Kelts Global Field Studies Program (BIO3090) is named in honor of its founder, Dr. Larry Kelts.  The program is an integral part of environmental education at Merrimack College. Intensive learning experiences in ecology and the environment involving lecture and field work in remote, pristine, environmentally significant locations across the globe. This program invites students to witness and compare the biological complexity and precision of temperate and tropical ecosystems, to appreciate their natural beauty and rich history, and to understand the effects of human activities on these systems.  Most recently, the trip has been focused on Belize.  Previous trips have included the Brazilian Amazon, Tanzania, Australia, Jamaica and the Galapagos Islands.