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Rice University

Introduction to Biology: Ecology

Rice University via Coursera

Overview

Ecology is all about connections. In this course, we’ll see how interdependent every living thing is and how people are impacting the natural world. Like all sciences, ecology isn’t just a list of known facts– it’s also a process. I love telling stories, and I’ve included many stories about how we’ve come to know what we know about ecology through observations and experiments.

Syllabus

  • Welcome to Introduction to Biology - Ecology
  • Module 1: What is Ecology?
    • In this module, we will learn about the goals of the science of ecology and some of the ways in which ecology can be applied to help people.
  • Module 2: Community Ecology
    • In this module, we will Learn about the factors that influence the distribution of life on Earth, some of the approaches that ecologists use to study ecological communities, and how the concept of an ecological niche can be used to understand the outcome of competition between species.
  • Module 3: Island Biogeography
    • In this module, we will learn about the development of the equilibrium theory of island biogeography and how it can be applied both to real islands and to protected areas.
  • Module 4: Species Interactions
    • In this module, we will learn about the various ways that species interact with one another, the role of keystone species in natural ecosystems, and how disturbances like floods and fires affect ecological communities.
  • Module 5: Population Ecology
    • In this module, we will learn how ecologists estimate population sizes of wild animals, the factors that affect population size in animals and people, and the history and recent trends in human population growth.
  • Module 6: Conservation Biology
    • In this module, we will learn about the major threats to living species and the impacts of habitat loss, invasive species, and climate change on the natural world.
  • Module 7: The Future of the Biosphere
    • In this module, we will learn about the current declines in biodiversity and how biodiversity loss affects ecosystems and people.
  • Final Assessment and Course Summary

Taught by

Scott Solomon

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