Course Description: Ecology (REM 221, Section 1)

Fundamental principles of ecology. Major topics covered by the course include the physical environment, how organisms interact with each other and their environment, evolutionary processes, population dynamics, communities, energy flow and ecosystems, human influences on ecosystems, and the integration and scaling of ecological processes through systems ecology. Computer-based materials are used extensively for guided independent learning in this course.


Prerequisites: Introductory biology, or permission.
Recommended preparation: Introductory botany and zoology
An independent study option (REM 221-40) is available for students who wish to take this course online via Internet.


For course preparation: Explore what do you know about ...
Explore what you know about general ecologyExplore what you know about the environmentExplore what you know about organisms and their response to their environmentExplore what you know about communities and ecosystemsExplore what you know about ecology at the global scale

The physical environment

An introduction to the major environmental factors that affect organisms, including solar and terrestrial radiation, energy balance, temperature, water, wind, and climate.


The response of individual organisms to their environment

Topics on how organisms interact with various environmental factors, including discussions on individual acclimation and species adaptation to the environment.


The nature of species, adaptation, and population dynamics
This section includes discussions on ecotypes, species, and populations, including the structure and growth of populations, interactions among species, and models of population fluctuations.
Communities and ecosystems
These major sections cover the major theories of communities and succession, and the structure and function of ecosystems. Topics of discussion include community structure and distribution in nature, energy flow and global mineral cycles, a review of world ecosystems, and human influences on ecosystems.