UM ranks high in ecology research

Ecology research at the University of Montana ranks highly in a recent survey of North American academic institutions. Recent graduate Megan Keville led the examination of scholarly productivity in the field of ecology – a ranking never before published.

She and co-authors, UM faculty Cara Nelson and Ric Hauer, assessed the scholarly activity of 316 North American research institutions deemed likely to have productive researchers in ecology.

Ecology is a century-old discipline that addresses the abundance and distribution of species and their relation to their environment. The field encompasses a wide range of topics including global loss of biodiversity, the interface between climate change and plants and animals, and the impact of humanity on the planet, among others.  

Although other disciplines, ranging from medicine to forestry, routinely rank academic institutions based on scholarly output in that field, ecology had been lacking such rankings. The most common metrics of productivity are publications in high quality and impactful peer-reviewed journals and the frequency with which those publications get cited by others in the field. The authors used an index that incorporated both of those metrics to assemble the rankings.

After adjusting for relative institution size, the University of Montana ranks fifth out of the 316 institutions examined for scholarly productivity in influential ecology journals.

By these criteria, UM ecology faculty and their students are leaders in ecological research across North America and rank among the most prestigious institutions in this field. View the full study and rankings in the journal Ecosphere.