Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation (CEEC)
University of East Anglia

The Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation at UEA, Norwich, is one of the largest groups of ecologists and evolutionary biologists in Europe, with over 20 members of faculty and a community of around 70 research staff and PhD students. We offer:

BSc degrees in Ecology, with options to spend a year in North America; Australasia or mainland Europe. All include a ten day fieldcourse in the West of Ireland, and other optional fieldcourses.

A one year Masters programme in Applied Ecology and Conservation

A one year Diploma in ecology, which can be taken as a free standing qualification, or as a route to allow graduates in a non-biological subject to enter our MSc in Applied Ecology and Conservation.

Doctoral programmes in ecology, evolutionary biology and conservation.

We are also partners in the International Masters degree in Applied Ecology. This is an Erasmus Mundus partnership between University of East Anglia, University of Poitiers (France), University of Coimbra (Portugal), and Christian-Albrechts-Universität in Kiel (Germany). In the first year of the programme you will attend courses in 3 countries and in the second year you will be based in one of the four EMAE Universities, with opportunities to undertake fieldwork for the dissertation in exciting locations around the world.

CEEC brings together staff and students based in two departments, the School of Biological Sciences and the School of Environmental Sciences. There are strong collaborative links in research and close integration of teaching between the two Schools, and some staff hold joi. There are strong collaborative links in research and close integration of teaching between the two Schools, and some staff hold joint appointments.

External collaborators include British Trust for Ornithology, RSPB, the John Innes Centre, ELSA and CEFAS.

Inside UEA we have collaborations with social scientists, environmental chemists, molecular biologists, and staff in the Medical School and School of International Development.


Research in the centre includes work in terrestrial, freshwater and marine systems. Organisms studied include pro- and eukaryote micro-organisms, plants and animals, at spatial scales ranging from the microscopic to continental and global. Our interests are grouped into four broad themes:

  • Behavioural Ecology and Populations. Population biology and population dynamics of animals and plants. Life history evolution, and its consequences for population biology. Reproductive behaviour, sexual selection and the population consequences of individual behavour, including work on birds, mammals, fish and invertebrates. Ethnobiology and evolutionary psychology. Ecophysiology.

  • Contaminated Environments, Chemical and Ecosystem Ecology. There is an inextricable link between environmental chemistry and ecology. Biological processes form key links in geochemical cycling of many elements. Changes in the chemistry of the environment induced by human activities impact on ecological processes, often in detrimental ways. We are involded in examining the roles played by eukaryotic microorganisms, bacteria and archaea in the biogeochemical cycles of carbon, nitrogen, sulphur and iodine, particularly in the marine environment. Several staff are examining the impacts of climate change on ecological systems, particularly through our involvement in the Tyndall Centre project on managing coastal zones. The transport, breakdown, fate and ecological effects of contaminants in the environment. The ecology and bioremediation of grossly contaminated environments, including acid mine drainage at pH 0.5, post-industrial "brownfield" sites contaminated with hydrocarbons, phenolics and pesticides, and estuaries with several centuries of history of severe metal contamination.

  • Conservation. Characterisation of biodiversity from the genetic to the landscape level, its effects on ecosystem functions and its conservation. Ecology of agricultural, seminatural and natural systems, tropical forests, coastal and marine environments, including the decline of coral reefs and impacts of genetically modified (GM) crops on biodiversity. Habitat creation and restoration. Sustainable exploitation of natural resources; trade and the environment. Wildlife biology and the management of endangered species, including projects on mammals, birds and reptiles. Landscape ecology and macroecology.

  • Molecular Ecology and Evolution. Evolutionary genetics, population genetics and phylogeography. Theoretical and empirical studies of evolutionary processes. Microbial ecology and ecophysiology, environmental genomics and proteomics. A growing theme in our research is "integrative biology", making links between molecular processes and changes at the whole organism, population and community levels.

Individual faculty and their research interests are listed on our Ecology Research at UEA page.


Our MSc in Applied Ecology and Conservation attracts about 24 students each year. The majority of these have some practical experience in conservation as well as a first degree, and about half come from outside the UK. We are able to offer full or partial financial support to some students each year, including five NERC studentships.

BSc Ecology programme (including 4 year programmes with a year in Europe, North America or Australasia). Our BSc programme is unusual within the UK in that the full three years of study are focussed on ecology, rather than ecology being studied as a final year option within a much broader biological sciences degree.

 Research Degrees and Post-Doctoral Fellowships

Research students can obtain three different research degrees, MSc, MPhil and PhD. For a postgraduate prospectus and information pack, send an email request to our graduate admissions office, specifying which of our programmes you are interested, and whether you want information on the School of Biological Sciences, the School of Environmental Sciences or both. But if you know the broad research area in which you want to work it is probably best to make direct contact with members of faculty in your particular field of interest (see Ecology research at UEA for a list of faculty and their research interests). We are likely to have some studenships tied to particular projects - follow these links for information on studentships in the School of Biological Sciences and the School of Environmental Sciences.

If you already have a PhD and your research is in one of the above areas, we would be very happy to consider hosting a research fellowship, such as those awarded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the UK Royal Society and the EU (Marie Curie Fellowships). A number of externally funded research fellows are already based in CEEC. Please contact the Director, or a member of faculty working in your field, to discuss this further.

Please send comments or general enquiries to A.Grant@uea.ac.uk.

 Contact information

Professor Alastair Grant
Center for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation
School of Environmental Sciences
University of East Anglia

Phone: 01603 592537
Fax: 01603 591327