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This subject introduces students to the major ecological questions that can be addressed at the levels of individuals, populations, communities and ecosystems. What determines the distribution of individuals of a species? What controls the abundance of populations of a species? What determines the richness and diversity of species in a community? What governs the turnover of matter and energy in an ecosystem?
Making use of aquatic and terrestrial examples, topics include organisms and the physical environment, life histories, population growth and regulation, managing populations, theoretical models, species interactions, community change and energy flows. The practical component will emphasise approaches to the collection and analysis of ecological data, and how to interpret and write scientific reports.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject students should be able to:
- explain the hierarchical structure of ecological systems, and why ecological systems change over time and space;
- define and explain core ecological terms, concepts, and theories, including the role of scale;
- demonstrate an ability to apply ecological reasoning to new situations;
- collect and record ecological data; and
- use basic analytical techniques to understand and communicate ecological data.
This subject should develop generic skills in:
- reading, assimilating and writing about scientific information;
- working in small groups;
- asking realistic scientific questions; and
- collecting, analysing and interpreting scientific data.
Last updated: 20 February 2024