Major fields of study that contribute to environmental science
The major in Environmental Biology offers a rigorous program of study in science related to the environment. This major is designed to provide students with a foundation in population, whole organism, evolutionary biology and environmental science as well as in chemistry and mathematics. To build on that natural science foundation, upper-level electives in the major allow students to explore the myriad applications and contexts of environmental biology through courses in fields like history, government, economics, public policy and international affairs. The Environmental Biology major emphasizes an education in core scientific principles, critical reading and writing skills, and the ability to understand, apply and communicate scientific concepts and results.
Ecology is the study of the interactions between organisms and their environment. Ecologists might investigate the relationship between a population of organisms and some physical characteristic of their environment, such as concentration of a chemical; or they might investigate the interaction between two populations of different organisms through some symbiotic or competitive relationship.
For example, an interdisciplinary analysis of an ecological system which is being impacted by one or more stressors might include several related environmental science fields. In an estuarine setting where a proposed industrial development could impact certain species by water and air pollution, biologists would describe the flora and fauna, chemists would analyze the transport of water pollutants to the marsh,physictics would calculate air pollution emissions and geologists would assist in understanding the marsh soils and bay muds.