The Non-Human Biosphere

Course Description: 

Ecology is the study of the interactions between organisms and their environment. In this introductory course, students will gain insight into the scientific method, and basic concepts and laws in ecology, including main ecological theories and biogeochemical cycles. The course will equip students in understanding how ecological principles must be considered in managing the environment.

PART I: LIFE AND THE PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT  
• Introduction
• The Physical Environment
• Adaptation to Aquatic and Terrestrial Environments
• Variations in the Physical Environment
• Biological Communities: The Biome Concept

PART II: ECOSYSTEMS
• Energy in the Ecosystem
• Pathways of Elements in the Ecosystem

PART III: ORGANISMS
• Life Histories and Evolutionary Fitness
• Sex and Evolution
• Family, Society, and Evolution
 
PART IV: POPULATIONS
• Population Structures
• Population Growth and Regulation
 
PART V: SPECIES INTERACTIONS
• Predation and Herbivory
• Dynamics of Predation
• Competition
• Coevolution and Mutualism

PART VI: COMMUNITIES
• Community Structure
• Community Development

PART VII: ECOLOGICAL APPLICATIONS
• Extinction and Biological Conservation

Learning Outcomes: 

1. Understand the principles and use of the scientific method in environmental sciences;

2. Understand basic concepts and laws of ecology; be aware of the main ecological theories; understanding ecological processes: the flow of energy, materials and information in ecosystems, ecological succession and evolution.

Assessment: 

Exam (40%)

Integrated ‘science’ assignment (60%)