ECOLOGY

ECOLOGY

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iten
Code
67081
ACADEMIC YEAR
2019/2020
CREDITS
6 credits during the 2nd year of 8762 Biological Sciences (L-13) GENOVA
SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINARY SECTOR
BIO/07
LANGUAGE
Italian
TEACHING LOCATION
GENOVA (Biological Sciences)
semester
1° Semester
Prerequisites
Teaching materials

OVERVIEW

Ecology is the science that studies the complex relationships between organisms and the environment in which they live and which highlights the mutual influences of the living and non-living component in ecosystems.

AIMS AND CONTENT

LEARNING OUTCOMES

The aim of the subject is to provide students with basic knowledge concerning the characteristics and functioning of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, adaptations of organisms to the environment in which they live and the structure and dynamics of populations and communities.

AIMS AND LEARNING OUTCOMES

The subject aims to provide solid basic knowledge on the structure and functioning of natural systems, with particular emphasis on the mechanisms that determine both the distribution and abundance of organisms as well as their relations with the environment.

The teaching highlights the hierarchical and interdisciplinary nature of ecology with the aim of encouraging students to deal with complex and multi-scalar disciplines and problems. This objective is reflected in the organization of the program that runs through the hierarchical ladder of ecological organization, from the mechanisms underlying biodiversity (evolutionary ecology), passing through the relationships between organisms and species (population ecology) up to the structure and functioning of the communities (community ecology).

The subject will provide the basis for further specialized studies in ecosystem and applied ecology, biodiversity conservation and sustainable environmental management.

PREREQUISITES

There are no specific prerequisites, but basic knowledge of zoology is recommended to effectively address the teaching content.

Teaching methods

The teaching consists of lectures.

Lectures in the classroom are delivered through multimedia presentations.

SYLLABUS/CONTENT

The teaching program includes the presentation and discussion of the following topics:

  • Introduction to ecology
  • Notes on the history of ecological thought. Ecology and environmentalism.

 

The ecosystem:

• Ecosystem concept. Ecosystem structure. Fundamental concepts on energy. Food chains. Trophic networks. Trophic levels. Primary production. Consumers. Detritivores and decomposers. Metabolism and size of individuals. Trophic structures and ecological pyramids. The concept of Emergy.

• Biogeochemical cycles and environmental factors.

• Limiting factors. Importance of trace elements. Light. Temperature. Atmosphere. Soil. pH. Climate.

 

Ecology of populations:

• Dispersion of organisms in space. Aggregated, random, uniform spatial distributions. Estimation of the densities and the number of individuals in a population. Elementary growth of a population. Tables of mortality and fertility. Accrual rates. Exponential and logistic models. Distribution of ages in a population. Mortality and survival curves. Trophic networks and population stability. Intra- and interspecific relationships. Competition. Gause principle and competition models.

 

Community ecology:

• Area-species curve. Model of equilibrium, area and distance effects. Concepts of habitat and ecological niche. Populations and communities in ecological gradients. Ecotones and "margin effect" concept. Climate concept. Ecological successions. Elements of analysis of the community structure. Diversity and evenness.

 

biomes:

• Terrestrial biomes: tundra, boreal forest, temperate forest, prairie, Mediterranean biome, desert, savannah, rainforest, mountain, caves. Aquatic, marine and freshwater biomes.

 

Man and the environment:

• Biodiversity: scales and values. Anthropogenic impacts on aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and on the atmosphere. Sustainability and the systemic approach to environmental problems. Study cases.

RECOMMENDED READING/BIBLIOGRAPHY

Available (downloadable from Aulaweb or from the teacher). Power Point of lessons and scientific articles.

Some recommended texts:

Smith & Smith, Elementi di ecologia, Pearson.

Townsend, Harper, Begon, L'essenziale di ecologia, Zanichelli

TEACHERS AND EXAM BOARD

Ricevimento: The reception of the students will be arranged directly with the teacher.

LESSONS

Teaching methods

The teaching consists of lectures.

Lectures in the classroom are delivered through multimedia presentations.

EXAMS

Exam description

The exam consists of an oral test concerning the topics covered in the course. The exam is passed if the student has obtained a grade greater than or equal to 18/30.

Five appeals will be available in the summer session (June, July, September) and 2 calls in the winter session (January-February).

Assessment methods

Details on how to prepare for the exam and the degree of detail required for each topic will be provided during the lessons.

The exam will verify the actual acquisition of knowledge, which the student will have to be able to connect and integrate. The ability to synthesize and recognize the main aspects of the topic will be evaluated and the ability to expose the arguments clearly and with correct terminology will also be considered.

Exam schedule

Date Time Location Type Notes
31/01/2020 10:00 GENOVA Orale
31/01/2020 14:00 GENOVA Orale
11/02/2020 10:00 GENOVA Orale
11/02/2020 14:00 GENOVA Orale
09/06/2020 10:00 GENOVA Orale
09/06/2020 14:00 GENOVA Orale
23/06/2020 10:00 GENOVA Orale
23/06/2020 14:00 GENOVA Orale
07/07/2020 10:00 GENOVA Orale
07/07/2020 14:00 GENOVA Orale
21/07/2020 10:00 GENOVA Orale
21/07/2020 14:00 GENOVA Orale
01/09/2020 10:00 GENOVA Orale
01/09/2020 14:00 GENOVA Orale
15/09/2020 10:00 GENOVA Orale
15/09/2020 14:00 GENOVA Orale

FURTHER INFORMATION

Frequency is recommended.