APS 123 Population and Community Ecology

Level 1
Semester 2B
Credits 10
Teaching Staff Professor Andrew Beckerman, Professor David Edwards, Dr Gavin Thomas
Co-ordinator Professor Andrew Beckerman


This course is an introduction to the fundamental principles of population and community ecology and their applications in conservation. We consider ecology at different levels of complexity, from the individual and single populations through to food webs. We introduce basic concepts in life-history, population growth and the resilience and stability of populations. Interactions between hosts and parasites, predators and prey and competitors are explored via theory and examples. Food webs and biogeography are also introduced in the context of biodiversity and conservation. Interspersed are case studies on questions about diversity, economy and climate change, as well as a field-based activity attempting to apply some of the concepts learned in lectures.

The module includes a 1 day field trip and ½ day lab session centred on collecting data related to biodiversity theory and producing graphs using tools from APS135.

Aims and Objectives

The unit aims to introduce various key concepts central to the ecology of individuals, populations and communities. It provides an understanding of how patterns of births and deaths and of species interactions affect the abundance and distribution of species and ultimately biodiversity. It provides an insight into the applications of ecological thinking to resource management, the conservation of biodiversity and climate change.

By the end of the unit, a candidate will be able to demonstrate a knowledge of the ecology of individuals, populations and communities. They will also understand how ecological theory can be applied to the management of the environment and conservation.

DELIVERY METHOD: 16 lectures, 1 field trip, 1/2 day computer session, 1 practical


ASSESSMENT METHOD: 2 hour, multiple-choice examination
You are required to take the on-line self assessment test for APS123.

FEEDBACK: You will receive feedback via the online self-assessment test, on the field trip and during the ½ day computer session. You will also receive feedback on your performance in different sections of the multiple choice examination after the marks have been released.

Please go to MOLE for more information on APS 123

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