GATE Ecology and Evolution Syllabus 2023

By Mona Kumari|Updated : March 30th, 2022

The GATE Ecology and Evolution syllabus 2023 will be released by IIT Kanpur on its official website. Candidates are advised to thoroughly prepare the syllabus provided to ensure that they can score the desired marks in the exam. The question papers in the exam will be formulated strictly in accordance with the GATE Ecology and Evolution syllabus. Thus, we have provided the section-wise syllabus below.

The GATE Ecology and Evolution (EY) syllabus 2023 constitutes 85% of the topics from the graduation level syllabus of the candidate. The candidates are suggested to understand the GATE syllabus for Ecology and Evolution before starting preparation for the exam. Better planning and time management can help the students to crack GATE 2023 and get admission to their dream program. 

Table of Content

 Detailed GATE Ecology and Evolution Syllabus 2023

The core subject of the GATE Ecology and Evolution (EY) syllabus comprises 85% of the exam marks while the rest 15% is from the General Aptitude section. The Ecology and Evolution syllabus is broadly divided into five main sections which are mentioned below.

  • Ecology
  • Evolution
  • Mathematics and Quantitative Ecology
  • Behavioural Ecology
  • Applied Ecology and Evolution

Further, let us now discuss in detail the topics included in these sections.

GATE  EY Syllabus-Ecology

The Ecology section of the GATE Ecology and Evolution syllabus consists of various important topics such as population ecology, ecophysiology, theory of island biogeography, etc. Let us discuss these topics in detail.

  • Fundamental Concepts: Scales (species, population, ecosystem, biomes, community), Abiotic and biotic components, habitats, and niches.
  • Population ecology: Metapopulation ecology (colonization, persistence, extinction, patches, sources, sinks); Population growth rates (density-dependent/independent); age-structured populations.
  • Interactions: Prey-predator interactions, Types (mutualism, symbiosis, commensalism, competition, parasitism, predation, etc), ecophysiology (physiological adaptations to the abiotic environment).
  • Ecosystems structure and function: Trophic levels and their interactions, nutrient cycles; primary and secondary productivity.
  • Community ecology: Species-area relationships, Community assembly,  theory of island biogeography, organization and succession; species richness, evenness and diversity indices.

GATE EY Syllabus-Evolution

The Evolution section of GATE EY syllabus 2023 consists of various important topics such as iteroparity, allocation of resources, drift, Hardy- Weinsberg equilibrium, etc. Further, let us check these topics mentioned in the table below.



History of Evolutionary thought

Lamarckism; Darwinism; Modern Synthesis.


Variation; heritability; natural selection; fitness and adaptation; types of selection (stabilizing, directional, disruptive).

Diversity of Life

Origin and history of life on earth; diversity and classification of life; systems of classification (cladistics and phenetics).

Life history strategies

Allocation of resources; trade-offs; r/K selection; semelparity and iteroparity.


Coevolution (co-adaptations, arms race, Red Queen hypothesis, co- speciation); prey-predator interactions (mimicry, crypsis, etc).

Population and Quantitative genetics

Origins of genetic variation; Mendelian genetics; Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium; drift; selection (one-locus two-alleles model); population genetic structure (panmixia, gene flow, FST); polygenic traits; gene-environment interactions (phenotypic plasticity); heritability.


Species concepts and speciation; adaptive radiation; convergence; biogeography.

Molecular evolution and phylogenetics

Neutral theory; molecular clocks; rates of evolution; phylogenetic reconstruction; molecular systematics.

GATE EY Syllabus-Mathematics and Quantitative Ecology

The Mathematics and Quantitative ecology section of GATE Ecology and Evolution syllabus 2023 consists of various important topics from Statistical hypothesis testing and Mathematics in ecology sections. Let us discuss these topics in detail.

  • Mathematics and statistics in ecology: Simple functions (linear, quadratic, exponential, logarithmic, etc); the concept of derivatives and slope of a function; permutations and combinations; basic probability (probability of random events; sequences of events, etc); frequency distributions and their descriptive statistics (mean, variance, coefficient of variation, correlation, etc).
  • Statistical hypothesis testing: Concept of p-value; Type I and Type II error, test statistics like t-test and Chi-square test; basics of linear regression and ANOVA.

GATE EY Syllabus-Behavioural Ecology

The Behavioural ecology section of GATE Ecology and Evolution syllabus 2023 comprises various important topics such as Neuroethology, mating systems, imprinting, reciprocity, etc. Let us discuss these topics in the table mentioned below.



Classical Ethology

Instinct; fixed action pattern; imprinting; learned behavior; proximate and ultimate questions.

Sensory ecology

Neuroethology; communication (chemical, acoustic and visual signaling); recognition systems.

Foraging ecology

Foraging behaviour; optimal foraging theory,


Cost of sex; sexual dimorphism; mate choice; sexual selection (runaway selection, good genes, handicap principle, etc); sexual conflict; mating systems; parental care.

Social Living

Costs and benefits of group-living (including responses to predators); effect of competition (scramble and contest) on group formation; dominance relationships; eusociality; kin selection; altruism; reciprocity; human behaviour.

GATE EY Syllabus-Applied Ecology and Evolution

The Applied Ecology and Evolution section of GATE EY syllabus 2023 consists of the following topics- Biodiversity & conservation, plant & animal breeding, global climate change, and disease ecology & evolution. Let us discuss these topics in detail.

  • Biodiversity and conservation: Importance of conserving biodiversity; ecosystem services; threats to biodiversity; invasive species; in-situ conservation (endemism, biodiversity hotspots, protected areas); ex-situ conservation; conservation genetics (genetic diversity, inbreeding depression); DNA fingerprinting and DNA barcoding.
  • Disease ecology and evolution: Epidemiology; zoonotic diseases; antibiotic resistance; vector control
  • Plant and animal breeding: Marker-assisted breeding; genetic basis of economically important traits
  • Global climate change: Causes; consequences; mitigation.

GATE Ecology and Evolution Syllabus PDF Download

Candidates can also check the GATE Ecology and Evolution syllabus 2023 provided in PDF format for convenience. Download the syllabus and check out the section-wise elucidated syllabus.

GATE Ecology and Evolution Syllabus PDF

Important Topics in GATE Ecology and Evolution Syllabus

Here, according to the past evaluation of the exam, we have segregated Important topics in GATE  Ecology and Evolution syllabus for the upcoming exam. Aspirants are advised to put extra effort into these topics so as to score more in the exam and attain a good rank. The list of the important topics GATE syllabus for Ecology and Evolution are:

  • Fundamental Concepts
  • Macroevolution
  • Molecular evolution and phylogenetics
  • Sensory ecology
  • Foraging ecology
  • Population ecology

Books for GATE EY Syllabus

Here, we have mentioned some trusted books for the GATE EY syllabus for candidates to prepare for the exam. Along with the course books for the graduation field of the candidates, here are a few required and necessary books to read for the GATE EY exam. 



Fundamentals and Techniques of Biophysics and Molecular Biology 

Pranav Kumar

Cell Biology, Genetics, Molecular Biology, Evolution & Ecology

Verma P.S. & Agarwal V.K.

Test & Evaluation: Life Sciences / Biotechnology 

Kumar Pranav & Mina Usha

Principles and Techniques of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Keith Wilson & John Walker


Michael Pelczar, Jr.

Online Classroom Program:

Avail Test Series:

Thank You

All the Best


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  • The important sections included in the GATE Ecology and Evolution syllabus 2023 are- General Aptitude, Ecology, Evolution, Applied ecology & evolution, Mathematics and quantitative ecology, and Behavioural ecology.

  • Based on the GATE EY Syllabus 2023, the section-wise number of questions asked is- 

    • General Aptitude- 10 questions
    • Ecology and Evolution- 55 questions.
  • The best-recommended books which are helpful in preparing the GATE Ecology and Evolution syllabus 2023 are mentioned below.

    • Fundamentals of Ecology- Eugene Odum
    • Organic Evolution- Veer Bala Rastogi
    • Global Philosophical and Ecological concepts- Rudi Jansma
    • Ecology: Theories and Applications- Peter Stiling
  • As per the GATE Ecology and Evolution syllabus, the topics included in the General Aptitude section are- Verbal Aptitude, Analytical Aptitude, Numerical Aptitude and Spatial Aptitude.

  • The candidates can refer to the graduation level books for preparing the GATE EY syllabus 2023. They can even refer to recommended books mentioned in the BYJU's EXam Prep website. 

  • Candidates should follow the below-mentioned tips to prepare for the GATE Ecology and Evolution syllabus:

    • Make a preparation plan/timetable.
    • Understand the exam pattern and syllabus.
    • Study the topics thoroughly.
    • Attend mock tests before the exam.

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