BI271 Lecutre B, 4 credit hours, fall semester 2017
Ecology is the study of the spatial and temporal patterns of the distribution and abundance of organisms, including causes and consequences. Studying these patterns provides us with the scientific foundation for understanding natural processes and environmental problems. This course will examine ecological interactions at a wide range of scales from the molecular level, through individuals, populations, communities, ecosystems, and ultimately to the biosphere. We will study how these interactions produce the patterns and processes we observe around the world. In the field-based laboratory we will learn to generate testable ecological hypotheses, develop experimental designs to test our hypotheses, and use statistical inference to quantiatively assess the outcome of our experiments, while gaining first-hand familiarity with local ecological communities.
Dr. Christopher M. Moore
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Note I have a 24-hour email policy)
Office: Olin 216
Office phone: 207-859-5746
Titles and names
Students are often curious about how to address their professors. I am comfortable with Dr. Moore, Professor Moore, or Chris. What’s most important to me is that we create a culture of mutual respect in the classroom. As a sign of respect to you I will, by default, address you as Ms. and Mr. followed by your last name. Should you have preferred way of being addressed (first name, nickname, etc.), please communicate that to me.
MWF, 9—9:50 AM, in Lovejoy 215
Ecology, 3rd ed., 2013, by Michael L. Cain, William D. Bowman, and Sally D. Hacker, published by Sinauer Associates, Inc.
(Note that the 4th ed. published by Oxford University Press in 2017 will suffice)
A. Learn the vocabulary and conceptual framework for the science of ecology.
B. Mature in ability to assess scientific literature, with a special emphasis on data interpretation.
C. Apply concepts and principles to topical ecological issues having implications for policy or management.
D. Gain direct experience with generating hypotheses, developing experimental designs and applying statistical analyses to ecological data.
E. Gain first-hand familiarity with local ecological communities.
Concepts to be addressed in Introduction to Ecology
|Introduction||Definitions, scientific method, graphing, data interpretation|
|Biogeography||Climate, biomes, island-biogeography, species-area relationships|
|Evolutionary ecology||Evolution, adaptation, life history|
|Population ecology||Population growth and regulation, demography, metapopulations, stochasticity|
|Species interactions||Mutualism, competition, predator-prey, host-parasite|
|Community ecology||Community structure, food webs, community metrics, succession, metacommunities|
|Ecosystem ecology||Energy flow, decomposition, primary and secondary production|
|Nutrient cycles||Global nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon cycles, human influences, land-atmosphere-ocean interactions|
Lecture, 0.70 of the course grade
|Item||Proportion of course||Proportion of lecture (rounded)|
|Problem sets (3)||0.09 (0.03 each)||0.13 (0.04 each)|
|Paper critiques (3)||0.09 (0.03 each)||0.13 (0.04 each)|
- Problem sets will include several quantitative and conceptual problems that are designed to help you apply and more deeply understand some of the concepts covered in the lecture material. There will be one probem set per Unit, and they will be disributed in lecture and due at the beginning of lecture, two meetings later.
- Paper critiques are designed to help you more thoroughly understand the primary mode of scientific vetting and communication: peer-reviewed journal articles. There will be three paper critiques of three different papers throughout the semester, with each subsequent critique designed to be more challenging by asking you to more thoroughly understand and substantively criticize the article.
- Examinations are a method used to gauge your understanding of the lecture material while simultaneously rewarding those who have mastered it.
Laboratory, 0.30 of the course grade
updated 31 October 2017
|Assignment||Proportion of course||Proportion of laboratory|
|Leaf litter assignment|
|Edge effects lab report|
|Research project presentation||0.075||0.25|
Role will not be taken, but regular attendance is necessary for you to succeed in this course.
Colby College is supportive of the religious practices of its students, faculty, and staff and is committed to ensuring that all students are able to observe their religious beliefs without academic penalty. If you observe a religious holiday that will impact your work in this course, please see me at the beginning of the term. We will then work to find a reasonable accommodation that will allow you to complete the academic work.
*(1) CBH means we are reading from the textbook, Cain, Bowman, and Hacker (2) “Weekly reading” should be read before the Monday where it’s listed. I will have the readings posted one week before we begin covering the material, at the latest.
|Meeting||Date||Day||Unit||Lecture||Weekly reading*||Assignments||Lecture material|
|1||9/6||W||Course introduction||Course introduction||Syllabus, CBH: pp. 8–16|
|2||9/8||F||Autecology||The domain of ecology|
|3||9/11||M||Evolution||CBH: pp. 136–148, paper||Mut&Sel.R, Drift.R|
|4||9/13||W||Evolutionary ecology||Paper critique I assigned, paper|
|5||9/15||F||The ecological niche|
|6||9/18||M||Physiological ecology: temperature||CBH: chs. 4,5|
|7||9/20||W||Physiological ecology: water|
|8||9/22||F||Paper critique I due|
|9||9/25||M||Behavior: individual (e.g., foraging, communiation) and group (e.g., mating, sociality)||CBH: 186–199, ch. 7||Problem set I assigned|
|12||10/2||M||Examination I review||No reading||Problem set I due, Answers|
|13||10/4||W||Examination I||Results, Key|
|14||10/6||F||Population ecology||Population growth||pdf, Use R to plot growth|
|15||10/9||M||Population limitation||CBH: 236–245, CBH: 227–236, CBH: 263–266||pdf, chaos video, delay logistic video|
|16||10/11||W||Stage and age structured populations|
|17||10/13||F||Metapopulations||Paper critique II assigned and the paper; Problem set II, 1/2 assigned|
|10/16||M||Fall recess (no class)||No reading|
|18||10/18||W||Deterministic and stochastic dynamics||pdf, time series video, state space video|
|19||10/20||F||Mutualism||Problem set II, 1/2 due, answers|
|20||10/23||M||Competition||Bronstein 2009; CBH: 272–285; CBH: 292–296, 307–312||pdf, Mutualism vid.,Competition vid. 1,Competition vid. 2|
|21||10/25||W||Predator-prey||pdf, Predation vid.|
|22||10/27||F||Paper critique II due; Problem set II, 2/2 assigned|
|23||10/30||M||Diesease ecology||CBH: 326–333|
|25||11/3||F||Examination II review||Problem set II,2/2 due, answers: 1 and 2|
|26||11/6||M||Examination II||Key, Results|
|27||11/8||W||Communities and ecosystems||Biodiversity (evolution, measurements, concepts, biogeography)|
|28||11/10||F||Community statics (e.g., measurement, definitions)||CBH: 359–366|
|29||11/13||M||Community dynamics: assembly (e.g., niche, neutral)||CBH: ch.17||Problem set III, 1/2 assigned|
|30||11/15||W||Community dynamics: metacommunities|
|31||11/17||F||Macroecology||Ch. 1 in Pattern and Process in Macroecology|
|32||11/20||M||Trophic ecology (including food webs, top-down and bottom-up regulation)||CBH: 485–491||Problem set III, 1/2 due, answers|
|11/22||W||Thanksgiving recess (no class)|
|11/24||F||Thanksgiving recess (no class)|
|33||11/27||M||Production ||CBH: chs. 20, 21||pdf, LAI animation, Terrestrial NPP animation, Marine NPP animation|
|34||11/29||W||Energy flows ||CBH: ch. 22||Problem set III, 2/2 assigned, answers|
|35||12/1||F||Nutrient supply and cycling |
|36||12/4||M||Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning|
|37||12/6||W||Eamination III review ||Problem set III, 2/2 due|
|38||12/8||F||Examination III ||Key, Exam III histogram, Exam III scores X section, Exam III scores compared with I & II|
|39||12/17 @ 6 PM||Su||Exit interviews from 12/8–17 |
Honesty, integrity, and personal responsibility are cornerstones of a Colby education and provide the foundation for scholarly inquiry, intellectual discourse, and an open and welcoming campus community. These values are articulated in the Colby Affirmation and are central to this course. You are expected to demonstrate academic honesty in all aspects of this course. If you are clear about course expectations, give credit to those whose work you rely on, and submit your best work, you are highly unlikely to commit an act of academic dishonesty.
Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to: violating clearly stated rules for taking an exam or completing homework; plagiarism (including material from sources without a citation and quotation marks around any borrowed words); claiming another’s work or a modification of another’s work as one’s own; buying or attempting to buy papers or projects for a course; fabricating information or citations; knowingly assisting others in acts of academic dishonesty; misrepresentations to faculty within the context of a course; and submitting the same work, including an essay that you wrote, in more than one course without the permission of the instructors.
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