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.
In this course, we will learn about the myriad ways in which organisms interact with their environments and the many factors that influence these relationships. Course material will be situated in the contexts of scientific method and experimental design. Course material will cover: evolutionary processes and how these underpin ecological processes; behavioral ecology and how individual organisms interact with their environment through competition, predation, and mutualism; population ecology, the dynamics of natural populations, and how these are affected by interactions with the biotic and abiotic environment; the structure and function of ecological communities; and the structure and function of ecosystems. This course will consider both theoretical basis of the science of ecology and the practical applications of ecology in coping with environmental problems. This course will provide foundational knowledge for additional coursework in environmental science and biology.
NOTE: This course covers similar material as BIS 390 Ecology & The Environment; however the two courses diverge in that BES 312 places a stronger focus on evolutionary foundations, behavioral, and population ecology, while BIS 390 focuses more on nutrient cycling and ecosystem ecology
WARNING: This class involves a lot of math.
Student learning goals
A thorough understanding of the major principles and theories of ecology
Ability to explain and apply ecological principles at a variety of physical, biological, and temporal scales
Improved ability to critically evaluate scientific data and hypotheses
Understanding of the practical applications of ecology to solving environmental problems
Improved ability to communicate scientific information in both written and oral formats
General method of instruction
Sessions will include lectures, small group projects and discussions, and possibly computer exercises.
Required: Biology 180 or other introductory biology course. Recommended: Familiarity with algebra. Knowledge of basic principles of chemistry and physics is useful but not necessary. NOTE: It is strongly recommended that you contact the instructor prior to enrollment if you are unsure if your introductory biology course covered material equivalent to BBIO 180.
Class assignments and grading
Students will have frequent quizzes and exercises to aid in mastering fundamental concepts of the course. Mastery of material will be evaluated through 4 exams.
Final grades will be based on the overall percentage of scores earned on all assignments combined.