POPULATION AND EVOLUTIONARY ECOLOGY
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ABOUT THIS COURSE
Ecology is the study of general principles concerning the interactions and relationships between organisms and their physical and biological environments. These principles are used to interpret patterns in the abundance, distribution, and diversity of organisms, taxa, biomass and productivity in space and time. These interpretations form the scientific basis for:
In BIOL 302* (Population and Evolutionary Ecology), we will examine patterns of variation in the size, composition, and distribution of plant and animal populations. We will study factors that affect the growth and dynamics of populations within natural habitats, including competition for resources, predation, parasitism and mutualism. Emphasis will be placed on a fundamental interpretation of these patterns in terms of mechanisms and consequences of evolution by natural selection. This will include an examination of adaptive strategies for growth, survival and reproduction in plants and animals.
Biology 302* students who are most interested in ecology should plan to also take BIOL 303* (Community and Ecosystem Ecology) offered in the winter term. This course examines the ecology of higher levels of organization (community and ecosystem) and therefore complements rather than overlaps with Biology 302. Topics include patterns and processes associated with community structure (e.g. dominance, species diversity, niche theory), community development (succession), habitat productivity, energy flow and the cycling of elements through the ecosystem, and the interpretation of global patterns in the distribution and diversity of biotas.