This is an advanced course, focused on the theoretical background of population and community ecology. Various topics such as competition, predation, community ecology and trophic interactions are treated in lectures, article seminars and a literature project. The course aims to give a deeper understanding of how to formulate hypotheses, design studies and analyse the data that result from these studies. This is done in exercises, in a regional excursion and a research project carried out during the final part of the course.
The regional excursion takes place during one week in the eastern part of Skåne. Each day is spent in a particular habitat, where we identify ecological problems, formulate hypotheses and perform the appropriate studies to test these hypotheses. In the evenings, we analyse the data and present the results from the studies performed during the day.
In the literature project, you collect and present information on a specific topic using data from scientific articles. In connection with this work, there is an exercise on how to find articles in ISI databases. The literature project is concluded with a written report and an oral presentation.
There are two exams on the course, one that tests your ability to statistically analyse ecological data and another one that tests your understanding of the subject area. In the second exam, you write the discussion part of an authentic article from which the real discussion has been removed. To pass the course you also have to take part in the exercises, the seminars, the two projects and the regional excursion.
This course makes up a basis for continued advanced studies within ecology and related subject areas. The course is a pre-requisite for studying Evolutionary Animal Ecology, Theoretical Ecology and Plant Evolution and Diversity and provides a basis for other courses such as Conservation Biology.
Begon, M. Townsend, C.R. and Harper, J.J. 2006. Ecology From Individuals to Ecosystems, 4th ed. Blackwells
The course will be given during the first part of the autumn semester and during the second part of the spring semester.