The field of ecology is guided by one central question: What are the processes that determine the distribution and abundance of organisms? This course will introduce you to the fundamental theory and problems in ecology through reading, discussion, and lecture. Special attention will be paid to the principles governing population dynamics over time and space, theories of community assembly and species coexistence, and processes of material cycling through ecosystems. Beyond the specific subject matter, training in ecology can prepare one’s mind to appreciate the causal feedbacks, scale dependencies, and contingencies of the complex social world we inhabit.
- Single species population dynamics
- Consumer-resource interactions
- Competition, mutualism, and disease
- Ecological networks and trophic structure
- Community assembly & succession
- Spatial processes
- Nonequilibrium ecology
- Biodiversity and macroecology
- Material cycling through ecosystems
- Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning
Undergraduate-level coursework in general biology and calculus are recommended but not required.