Fundamentals of Ecology

Investigate the fundamental question of ecology: the processes that determine the distribution and abundance of organisms.  Through reading, discussion, and lecture, explore the principles governing population dynamics over time and space, theories of community assembly and species coexistence, and processes of material cycling through ecosystems. Differentiate and critique major theories of population and community ecology, develop and analyze simple population dynamic models, critically evaluate primary literature and cogently summarize a scientific controversy through writing.  Beyond the core subject matter, identify more general principles of the causal feedbacks, scale dependencies, and contingencies of complex social systems.

Prerequisites or Prior Knowledge

Undergraduate-level coursework in general biology and calculus are recommended but not required.