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Seminars are free and open to the public

Block 4: Thursday, December 6th

Dr. Roxaneh Khorsand, Visiting Professor of Organismal Biology and Ecology, Colorado College

3:30-4:30pm in Tutt 122

Block 6: Thursday, February 28th

Dr. Nancy Emery, Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado Boulder

3:30- 4:30pm in Tutt 122

Block 6: Friday, March 8th

Keynote Speaker for OBE Day 2019

At 12:45pm in the McHugh Commons

More seminars coming soon!

See the Seminar Archive for more.


George Wittemyer CC class of '97 finds the positive in tragic elephant conservation research

See the full story here:

Who We Are

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.

Prospective Students

Apply to the full tuition Margaret T. Barnes Scholarships in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics 


Amanda Martin '19 is a Fulbright semifinalist for her research in biology! 


Leah Veldhuisen '19 collects plant data in Bolivia under Venture Grant

Working in collaboration with Professor Rachel Jabaily, Veldhuisen studied an endangered, high-elevation plant in the Andes Mountains. She will continue her research in October. Learn more about the project here!

OBE alum Zoë Moffett studies alpine pollination in a changing climate.

Moffett CC class of '17 worked with Dr. Candace Galen, Jessica Kettenbach, and Dr. Nicole Miller-Struttmann to investigate shrub encroachment and its effect on pollination systems. The team studied reproductive synchrony between willow and alpine sky pilot and subsequent pollination interference. Learn more about Moffett's research here!

Photo by Moffett '17

Tass Photo

Botanist and professor Tass Kelso, passed away in June 2016. Tass was a remarkable botanist and a remarkable person, whose friendship, research, and fine teaching skills touched the lives of many people. Click here to read tributes from her friends and colleagues.