Introduces major concepts of ecology and relates these concepts to current environmental issues. Topics include the relationship between organisms and the physical environment, evolutionary processes, the structure and function of ecosystems, population biology, forest management, pesticide use, and global warming. Required background: two quarters of college biology.
Students will develop a detailed understanding of the principles of ecology as a foundation for future coursework in environmental science. By the end of the course, students will understand the principles of evolution; the patterns and influences of conditions and resources on communities; how populations function, including details of competition, predation and other population processes; patterns of species richness; energy and matter flow through ecosystems; and some detail on how these principles apply to agriculture, pollution and conservation concerns. Skills that students will acquire include critical reasoning, ability to understand a diversity of graphical means of representing data, and basic mathematical models.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class sessions include lectures, small group projects and discussions, and computer exercises. Ability to reason through problems will be stressed in all exercises.
Students will be better prepared if they have taken introductory biology (e.g., BES 180), and if you feel comfortable with basic algebra.
Class assignments and grading
Students will work through study questions and computer exercises to help them master the concepts of the course. Comprehension will be tested via two exams. Small group discussions and presentations will also be used to help students learn to critique the primary literature in Ecology.
Study questions, computer exercises, and exams all will be graded. Grades will reflect percentage achievement on all assignments combined.