Evolutionary Biology

Evolution is responsible for all of the biological diversity in the natural world and the fossil record. Evolution occurs within the context of ecological interactions between an organism and its environment.

Evolutionary biology is a sub-field of biology concerned with the study of the evolutionary processes that produced the diversity of life on Earth. Someone who studies evolutionary biology is known as an evolutionary biologist. Evolutionary biologists study the descent of species, and the origin of new species.

The study of evolution is the unifying concept in evolutionary biology. 

Evolutionary biology is a conceptual subfield of biology that intersects with other subfields that are delimited by, for example:

  • Organisational level - cell biology, population biology
  • Taxonomic level - zoology, ornithology, herpetology
  • Angle of approach - field biology, theoretical biology, experimental evolution, paleontology

Usually, these intersections are combined into specific fields such as evolutionary ecology and evolutionary developmental biology.

Currently, the most exciting research in whole organism biology is at the intersection of how organisms interact with their biological and physical environment (Ecology) and the way in which these interactions effect adaptive change across generations (Evolutionary Biology).

At UNSW, our Evolution & Ecology Research Centre specialises in Evolutionary Ecology.


If you are interested in pursuing a research degree in Evolutionary Biology and Ecology, you can click here to look for potential supervisors.