The Organismal Biology and Ecology (OBE) Department studies the structure and function of organisms in an ecological and evolutionary context. OBE encompasses cross-disciplinary approaches such as physiological ecology, evolutionary ecology, systematics, and biogeography, which all provide complementary insights into the processes of evolutionary diversification and adaptation to life on earth. Our research foci include botany, animal and plant ecology, comparative physiology, conservation biology, and molecular ecology. We strive to perform cutting-edge research and include students in these opportunities.
OBE on The Block Plan
The focused three and a half week course style of the block plan enables our OBE faculty to design field/lab classes and research opportunities that are not possible in traditional school settings.
Field courses: Our exceptional location is adjacent to rich and diverse ecosystems situated at the range limits of many species of plants and animals. In an east-west direction, the elevation changes from roughly 6,000 to over 14,000 feet on top of Pikes Peak, resulting in a mosaic of ecosystems spanning plains, forests and tundra. Many classes take day-long, overnight or multi-day trips to explore sites near and far. Some of these are camping trips, but we also utilize the CC Cabin in the montane pine forests of the Pikes Peak foothills an hour from campus as well as the CC Baca Campus in the San Luis Valley three hours to the southwest. We also offer regular block-long field courses to Belize and Patagonia!
Small Class Size: Colorado College limits class sizes to a maximum of 25 students; most field and lab courses have even smaller sizes. This allows each student to receive individual attention, and to do investigative projects even in their first biology class.
Transmission electron microscopy: 8 students
Ecology: 14 students
Comparative Animal Physiology: 12 students
Research opportunities: Our faculty have active and diverse ongoing research and can also help students develop their own project, e.g. students can receive credit for as many as two mentored research blocks with a professor. We encourage and financially support collaborative student-faculty research projects. These opportunities provide excellent experience for students interested in graduate school or those planning on becoming part of a research team upon graduation.
Preserve Intern/Water and Wildlife Conservation Internship
Blumenstein – The Nature Conservancy Silver Creek Preserve
PAID Summer Internship in Idaho
The Preserve Intern is responsible for assisting stewardship staff with protection and enhancement of wildlife habitat and natural resources on The Nature Conservancy’s preserves in Idaho. The Intern’s primary duty will be assisting with the daily operation and management of the Silver Creek Preserve. Duties include habitat restoration projects, greeting visitors at the Silver Creek visitor’s center, periodic travel to other preserves, interacting regularly with Nature Conservancy members, the general public, and neighboring land owners, maintaining preserve facilities and grounds, weed control, and participating in scientific research and monitoring. This internship is open to all Colorado College freshmen, sophomore, or junior students, regardless of major. Internship will begin approximately May 23, 2016. The Nature Conservancy will support the intern in finding housing within a reasonable distance from the Preserve. A vehicle is strongly recommended.
Colleen Cahill was awarded a venture grant to combine her passions of ornithology and photography in a study contrasting wetland bird adaptations on the east and west coasts of the US. She presented her results on campus in block 7, 2015.