Introduction to Ecology
This course examines the concepts of the ecosystem, populations, communities, the flows of energy, material cycles, and biotic diversity. Students will analyze ecological concepts including the unity of organisms and inseparable interactions with the physical environment. Class discussions include topics such as the formation, distribution, and organization of ecological communities, plant succession, and nutrient cycling. Students will also evaluate aspects of evolutionary trends within plant and animal communities as they relate to ecological principles.
The goals of this class are to transmit the principles, methods, and vocabulary of ecology. Students will critically analyze and discuss issues concerning population ecology, community ecology, and ecosystem ecology. Students will relate concepts of ecology to their personal and professional interests in environmental issues. The ability and necessity of communicating ecological principles within a commercial and/or regulatory environment will be developed. An assignment will provide experience in the collection, interpretation, and analysis of data. The skills learned will be relevant in environmental reporting, discussions, and presentations within a professional environment.