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Biology 333

BIOL 333
Population and Community Ecology

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BIOL 333
Population and Community Ecology
Three hours lecture; three hours laboratory(4).

Prerequisites: BIOL 131 and STAT 200 (STAT 200 may be taken concurrently)

This course studies the distribution and abundance of species, and how populations interact with each other and their environment. Investigations will encompass a broad diversity of organisms from all parts of the world.  Laboratory exercises will study local species interactions, with a strong emphasis on field work.

Detailed Description of Course

Geographical Distribution and Abundance of Populations of species
    -small scale patterns
    -large scale patterns
Population distribution and abundance change over time
    -metapopulations – groups of populations separated by inhospitable habitat
    -age distributions and life tables
    -rates of population change
Population growth
    -models of population growth
    -limits to population growth
Life history evolution
    -resource allocation
    -patterns of life histories
Competition between species
    -effect of competition on distribution and abundance of species
    -ecological niches
    -models of competition
    -testing the models
Exploitation of one species by another
    -effect on distribution and abundance of species
    -parasitoids are parasites that live in/on and kill their hosts
    -models of exploitation
    -empirical studies of exploitation
Mutualism are ecological interactions in which both species benefit
    -effects on distribution and abundance of species
    -prevalence and conditions when it will occur
Biological diversity
    -species richness
    -measures of diversity
    -genetic diversity
    -disturbance such as floods and fires
Community structure
    -food webs
    -keystone species
    -trophic cascades
    -indirect effects
    -effects of invasive species
    -stability of communities
    -primary succession
    -secondary succession

Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

Lecture time will depend on the approach of the instructor.  In addition to, or instead of, traditional lectures, instructors may opt to have class discussions of literature, problem-based learning and team learning. Students will be asked to evaluate both qualitative and quantitative evidence of case studies. During labs, students will use observational and experimental approaches to investigate local ecological phenomena, collect data, and will use computer software to analyze the resulting data sets.

 Goals and Objectives of the Course

Having successfully completed this course, students will be able to do the following:
-explain what biotic and abiotic factors influence the distribution and abundance of species
-understand, discuss and evaluate biological complexity
-learn and apply ecological models
-collect, analyze and evaluate qualitative and quantitative data
-design and carry out simple research projects
-explain the ways in which ecological systems are dynamic
-be more numerically and mathematically literate, with improved ability to use logarithms, exponents, algebraic equations, and simple differential equations
-read and evaluate primary and secondary literature in ecology

Assessment Measures

Depending on the instructor, assessment strategies may include any or all of the following: lecture exams, lecture quizzes, qualitative assessment of quality of research during labs, lab quizzes, lab reports, reading and evaluation of primary and secondary literature, papers on primary literature, papers derived from group discussions, qualitative assessment of contributions to group discussions, and major projects.

Other Course Information


Review and Approval

January, 2010