Part of the Introduction to Biology: Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity Specialization.
Ecology is all about connections. We’ll see how interdependent every living thing is and how people are impacting the natural world. Like all sciences, ecology isn’t just a list of known facts– it’s also a process. I love telling stories, and I’ve included many stories about how we’ve come to know what we know about ecology through observations and experiments.
Module 1. What is Ecology?
- Be able to define ecology.
- Know some of the goals of ecology.
- Become familiar with some of the ways in which ecology can be applied to help people.
Module 2. Community Ecology
- Become familiar with basic patterns in the distribution of life on Earth.
- Know the major factors that influence where species live.
- Be aware of some of the approaches that ecologists use to study community ecology.
- Gain an understanding of the concept of an ecological niche, including how a niche can be visualized and what happens when species have overlapping niches.
Module 3. Island Biogeography
- Be familiar with the development of the equilibrium theory of island biogeography.
- Have a basic understanding of the equilibrium theory of island biogeography.
- Be able to apply the theory of island biogeography to real islands and protected areas.
Module 4. Species Interactions
- Become familiar with the various ways that species interact with one another.
- Be able to define a keystone species.
- Gain an appreciation for the roles of predators in ecological communities.
- Understand how disturbances affect ecological communities.
Module 5. Population Ecology
- Know how to estimate population size using the mark-recapture method.
- Be familiar with the factors that affect population size in animals and people.
- Be able to define a population’s carrying capacity.
- Be familiar with the history and recent trends in human population growth.
Module 6. Conservation Biology
- Be familiar with the major threats to living species.
- Understand the impacts of habitat loss on the natural world.
- Be aware of the impact of invasive species on the natural world.
- Understand some of the impacts of climate change on the natural world.
Module 7. The Future of the Biosphere
- Be aware of the current declines in biodiversity.
- Be familiar with examples of how biodiversity loss affects ecosystems.
- Know some of the ways that biodiversity loss affects people.
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