About Wisconsin Ecology

Person studying in field

Wisconsin Ecology is the umbrella organization for all ecologists at UW- Madison. Our goal is to facilitate the work of ecologists at the university, and to represent their interests. We promote interaction among ecologists at UW- Madison in order to:

  • Foster research, instruction and outreach
  • Build connections and networks across the large and diverse community of UW-Madison ecologists
  • Advance the initiatives and broad interests of the community of UW- Madison ecologists
  • Provide a gateway to information about UW-Madison ecology

Expertise in ecology is well represented and strong at UW-Madison, and ecologists are found in many departments throughout the university: in the College of Letters and Sciences (e.g., Departments of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Botany, Geography, Zoology, and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies); the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (e.g., Agronomy, Entomology, Forest and Wildlife Ecology, Soil Science); and the College of Engineering (e.g., Civil and Environmental Engineering).

Although there is no "department of ecology," the community of ecologists at UW-Madison is interactive, very friendly and highly collaborative. The vibrant and collegial culture combined with outstanding science make UW-Madison a great place to be an ecologist.

UW-Madison ecologists conduct studies in Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest, but they work in many other locations, as well. Locally, long-term studies of Lake Mendota and the Northern Highlands Lake District are internationally recognized, as are studies of landscape changes in northern and southern Wisconsin. But UW-Madison ecologists also work throughout North America and in Asia, South America, Africa, Iceland... and even Antarctica.

Activities of Wisconsin Ecology

Wisconsin Ecology conducts many activities on campus, including a campus-wide symposium each semester, potluck dinners, social events and an annual faculty dinner.

How Can You Participate?

Any faculty, academic staff, research trainee or graduate student interested in ecological research, teaching or outreach at U.W.-Madison is invited to join in activities of Wisconsin Ecology. Although Wisconsin Ecology is designed primarily to serve ecology faculty, staff and graduate students, undergraduates are welcome to participate.

To learn about how to affiliate with Wisconsin Ecology, visit our Get Involved page.

Aldo Leopold

Organizational Structure

Wisconsin Ecology is organized under the auspices of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. An Executive Committee is responsible for organization of the Wisconsin Ecology activities. The Executive Committee has 9 members, including the Chair, Co-Chair, 3 standing committee chairs, and 4 members-at-large. Members of the Executive Committee are elected annually.

Legacy of Excellence

Ecology at UW-Madison also builds on a long tradition of excellence.

Several former ecologists at UW-Madison were among the most influential thinkers in 20th Century ecology. These include leaders in wildlife ecology and conservation (Aldo Leopold, Wildlife Ecology), plant ecology (John Curtis, Botany) and aquatic ecology (Arthur Hasler).

Areas of Ecology at UW-Madison

  • Agroecology
  • Aquatic ecology
  • Biogeochemistry
  • Biogeography
  • Climate Change
  • Conservation Biology
  • Ecosystem Ecology
  • Environmental Policy
  • Global Ecology
  • Invasive Species
  • Landscape Ecology
  • Microbial Sciences
  • Paleoecology
  • Plant-Animal Interactions
  • Plant Community Ecology
  • Restoration Ecology
  • Sustainability Science
  • Temperate and Tropical Forest Ecology
  • Theoretical Ecology
  • Wildlife Ecology