BIOL 3021: Community And Ecosystem Ecology

This course is a survey of the theoretical development of community and ecosystem ecology as a science. Students examine the major influences on the organization and development of ecological communities, including physical constraints and processes, biological interactions within and among species, and the complex interaction of all these factors at varied spatial and temporal scales. Students also examine the classification, diversity and conservation of ecological communities. The course provides extensive experience in the practice of ecology through a field research project.

Learning outcomes

  • Discuss the major ecological factors that affect the distribution and abundance of organisms and how the interaction of physical and biotic factors organizes and structures ecological communities
  • Evaluate how specific research studies contribute to larger ecological theory
  • Recognize the influences of ecological processes on different temporal and spatial scales
  • Integrate independent observations with existing ecology theory
  • Critically evaluate the peer-reviewed ecological literature and understand the process of peer review
  • Develop and evaluate a testable ecological hypothesis from field observations
  • Design and implement an observational study using established principles of experimental and sampling design
  • Communicate ecological knowledge and results effectively, using both written text and tables and/or figures
  • Appreciate the process of ecological enquiry, including its limitations and opportunities
  • Reflect on how the science of ecology affects your understanding of the natural world

Course topics

  1. Module 1: Course Introduction
  2. Module 2: Ecology as Science
  3. Module 3: Environmental Influences
  4. Module 4: Ecological Energetics
  5. Module 5: Disturbance & Succession
  6. Module 6: Biomes & Ecozones
  7. Module 7: Community Structure
  8. Module 8: Species Interactions I
  9. Module 9: Species Interactions II
  10. Module 10: Biodiversity
  11. Module 11: Landscape Ecology
  12. Module 12: Ecology and Conservation

Required text and materials

The following textbook is required for this course:

  1. Freedman, B., Hutchings, J., Gwynne, D., Smol, J., Suffling, R., Turkington, R., Walker, R. & Bazely, D. (2015). Ecology: A Canadian Context. 2nd edition. Toronto, ON: Nelson Education.
    Type: Textbook, ISBN: 978-0-17-651014-5

Assessments

To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course and 50% or higher on the mandatory Final Project.

Chapter 1 Quiz 2%
Chapter 2 Quiz 3%
Chapter 3/Chapter 10 Quiz 5%
Chapter 9.1/Chapter 11 Quiz 5%
Chapter 9.2/Chapter 12 Quiz 5%
Chapter 13/Chapter 15 Quiz 5%
Module 4 Questions 5%
Module 6 Questions 5%
Module 8 Questions 5%
Module 9 Questions 5%
Module 11 Questions 5%
Final Project (mandatory) 50%

Open Learning Faculty Member

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of your course.

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