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Population Ecology: Theories and Applications (NBID46)

The aim of the present course is to provide advanced knowledge of concepts and theories in population and community ecology and their applications to some important environmental problems. The course also aims to prepare for research and to give experience in scientific writing (reports and reviews). After completing this course you should be able to give an account of and analyse how ecological systems (populations and communities) are affected by different kinds of disturbances. You should be able to perform viability and sensitivity analysis at the population and community level (risk assessments). The advancement level of the course is D.


The first part of the course consists of lectures, seminars and computer exercises. The course is to a large extent based on independent work (individually and in small groups). Literature (theory) and results from computer exercises are presented and discussed at seminars and in written reports. During the second part of the course you will write a review paper addressing a specific topic dealt with in the first part of the course. The review papers are also presented and discussed at a seminar (December 21, 2010). All seminars are compulsory.

Course contents:

The course deals with the structure and dynamics of populations and ecological communities in space and time. In particular, it deals with the response of populations and communities to different kinds of disturbances. Concepts and theories from population and community ecology are applied on some current, important ecological problems, such as: protection of endangered species and biodiversity; sustainable harvesting of natural resources; effects of alien species on ecological communities; species reintroductions; the response of ecological communities to climate change and to habitat destruction and fragmentation; vulnerability and recovery ability of ecosystems subjected to different kinds of disturbances. And possibly: ecological aspects of the growth of the human population.

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Last updated: 09/23/11