We have maintained a strong “naturalist tradition” that includes a commitment to organismal biology, to field research, and to field experiences for students. We have several substantial biological collections including an herbarium with close to 600,000 specimens of vascular plants, bryophytes, and fungi and a fish collection with over 500,000 specimens.
We have a strong presence in theoretical and quantitative ecology & evolutionary biology; several EEB faculty members are affiliated with The National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS), directed by Dr. Nina Fefferman; NIMBioS founding director was Dr. Lou Gross (now Emeritus faculty member).
Our faculty are recognized in multiple ways for their excellence, including serving on Boards of Directors for non-profit organizations, serving as consultants for multiple NGOs and government agencies (e.g., Nature Conservancy, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tremont, U.S. Center for Disease Control, Ogilvy, Humane Society International), serving on myriad granting panels (e.g., NSF, USDA, NIH, DOE), working groups (e.g. NASA, NESCent), steering committees and editorial boards and as editors of international journals. Our faculty regularly communicate science to the media, organize meetings and symposia and serve their national professional societies. Since 2009, EEB faculty have been funded by over 15 state, federal, non-profit and foundation funding agencies; including National Science Foundation CAREER Awards to three EEB faculty.
We collaborate with colleagues in other departments and colleges at UTK, Oak Ridge National Laboratories, Tennessee Valley Authority, and more. Collaborations with our affiliates make our department and our research truly interdisciplinary.