|Module Title||POPULATION AND COMMUNITY ECOLOGY|
|Co-ordinator||Dr Robert Wootton|
|Other staff||Dr Simon Creasey, Dr John Gee|
|Course delivery||Lecture||30 Hours|
|Practical||5 Hours 6 x 3 hours|
|Assessment||Exam||3 Hours One 3-hour theory paper||70%|
|Practical exercise||Continuous assessment of practicals Submitted in 6th week of semester||30%|
|Resit assessment||3 Hours One 3-hour theory paper (plus resubmission of failed courswork or an alternative)|
Aims and objectives
The course introduces at an elementary level, theoretical developments in population and community ecology, with theory related, where possible, to empirical studies. The need to assess the underlying assumptions of the models developed is emphasised throughout.
The subject addresses three main problems. What factors determine population abundance and changes in that abundance? What factors cause changes in the genetic composition of populations? What factors determine the number of species that can co-exist in a given area?
The population ecology component covers the following topics: estimation of population abundance, the construction and use of life tables, the concept of density dependence, life history theory, and population growth models emphasising the logistic model. The population dynamics of species with overlapping and non-overlapping generations are compared. The behavioural ecology of foraging, predation and social behaviour is discussed in relation to the consequences for population abundance.
The use of genetic markers to define populations and to follow the dynamics of change in the genetic structure of populations is described.
The community ecology components discusses two-species models for predator-prey and competitive interactions, species diversity, food webs, and island biogeography. The relevance of community ecology for conservation is considered.
On competion of the course the student should
** Essential Reading
Begon, M. Townsend, C. & Harper, J. (1996) Ecology. Backwell.
Krebs, C.J.. (1994) Ecology. Harper Collins.
Cook, L.M.. (1991) Genetics & Ecological diversity. Chapman & Hall.