3526.15 - Terrestrial Ecology

Course number
Terrestrial Ecology
For joining this single course, 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 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
Four-hour written examination. No auxiliary material allowed except NVD computers for writing and calculation. Marks are also given for written assignments and the average of these marks will count 20% of the final course grade. The existing grade scale will be used.
Marking scale
Elements of Ecology, Thomas M. Smith & Robert Leo Smith. (2014). Benjamin Cummings. 9 ed. 704 pages. ISBN-13: 978-0321934185. The ecology of plants, Jessica Gurevitch (2006), Sinauer Associates, 2. ed., 574 pages. ISBN: 0878932941
Eyðfinn Magnussen