3526.17 - Terrestrial Ecology

Course number
Terrestrial Ecology
For joining this single course, “General Biology I”, II and III are required.
To provide the students with an overview about the interactions between populations in terrestrial plant-and animal communities, including subjects such as character and interactions within and between populations, and their importance for terrestrial ecosystem structure, function and dynamics.
Physical and chemical soil condition, light and climatic condition, growth and reproduction of individuals, population structure, growth, and decline succession, plant life histories, competition, population interaction, flora and fauna composition, distribution and diversity, spatial and tropic structure of ecosystems, plant- and animal communities, islands biogeography, islands as ecological experiments, nature conservancy.
Learning and teaching approaches
Lectures, exercises, Multiple-Choice, and assignments.
Learning outcomes
When the course is over, the students should be expected to: • Construct life-tables and use them to generate demographic parameters. • Describe how life-tables demographic parameters affect population growth and life history variation. • Predict populations´ growth and the consequences of interactions between species with the use of simple theoretical models (for example, models for growth in populations with intra- and interspecific competition, predation, mutualism and parasitism. • Give a basic description of soil characteristics and soil development. • Describe synthesis and decomposition of organic matter and cycling of nutrients. • Describe the organization and functioning of ecosystems. • Describe and quantify ecological efficiencies. • Apply the concepts of bottom-up, top-down and trophic cascades. • Design models of energy flow and element cycles in ecosystems. • Comment on and discuss ecological problems in relation to examples from natural populations with the use of theoretical models. From this, argue for predictions of a populations´s future. • Discuss the impact of anthropogenic factors and climate change on ecosystem processes and stability of ecosystems.
Assessment method
Assessment consists of three parts: 1) Four-hour written examination without auxiliary material. Count for 75% of the final course grade. 2) Written assignments, each assignment individually graded. For assignment not delivered, lowest mark (-3) is given. Average of all assignments count for 15% of the final course grade. 3) Multiple-Choice quizzes: The two points above mount to 90%. The last 10% consist of multiple-choice quizzes that should be performed before each lecturing-day. For each of these Multiple-Choice assignments the student gets 10/13%, if 60% or more of the answers are correct, (i.e. 0,769%). Assignments with the two worst results are excluded in the assessment.
Marking scale
Elements of Ecology, Thomas M. Smith & Robert Leo Smith. (2014). Benjamin Cummings. 9 ed. 704 pages. ISBN-13: 978-0321934185.
Eyðfinn Magnussen