Module Identifier BS32720  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Dr Robert J Wootton  
Semester Semester 1  
Other staff Dr John H R Gee, To Be Arranged  
Pre-Requisite BS22720  
Course delivery Lecture   30 Hours  
  Practical   5 Hours 6 x 3 hours  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam3 Hours One 3-hour theory paper  70%
Semester Assessment Practical Exercise: Continuous assessment of practicals Submitted in 6th week of semester30%
Supplementary Assessment3 Hours One 3-hour theory paper (plus resubmission of failed courswork or an alternative) 

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
On competion of the course the student should


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 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.

Reading Lists

** Essential Reading
Krebs, C.J. (1994) Ecology Harper Collins.
Cook, L.M., Callow, R.S. (1999) Genetic & Ecological diversity 2nd. Stanley Thornes
Begon, M. Townsend, C. & Harper, J (1996) Ecology Backwell.
Ricklefs, R.E. & Miller, G.L. (1999) Ecology W.H. Freeman
Case, T.G. (2000) An illustrated guide to theoretical ecology Oxford University Press


This module is at CQFW Level 6