Biology Education Centre

Population and community ecology

Program: Master programme in Biology
Level: Advanced level
Course code: 1BG309
Credits: 15 c
More info: Course syllabus
Student portal: Schedule and course material

Based on the students’ previous experiences this course penetrates deeper into population and community ecology. It is a central course for the specialization ’Ecology and Conservation’ in our Master programme, and gives a foundation for further studies especially the courses in Behavioural Ecology, Conservation Biology and Ecological Methods and is also a basis for the Master’s project.

A central theme is ecological theory as a tool for understanding population dynamics and community ecology processes. It is important to understand how theories are used in ecology, and how models are built, analysed and tested. The models are in general mathematical, but during the course focus is on computer simulation rather than analytical solutions to gain intuitive feeling for model characteristics and predictions. Focus will be on analysing ecological data to solve problems in ecological research and applications in nature conservation. We like to see this course as a progression of the more basic Ecology 15hp course where the in depth training of ecology will take students to a much more advanced level of knowledge in ecology.

The main part of the course will consist of small projects of approximately one week in which the students will use theory in combination with data to explain population and community processes. The participants will ’experiment’ on the computer and then report how the ecological systems react to changes in the environment and species attributes.

Some of the theories focus on population dynamics and interspecific interactions (herbivory, predation). Models of this type are often useful in nature conservation and will dealt with in an more applied context during the course in Conservation Biology. Theories dealing with species richness, food webs and ecosystem functions will also be dealt with.

For more information, please contact:
Peter Eklöv (peter.eklov@ebc.uu.se)