Syllabus for Population and Community Ecology

Populations- och samhällsekologi

A revised version of the syllabus is available.

  • 15 credits
  • Course code: 1BG309
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Biology A1N
  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
  • Established: 2007-03-15
  • Established by: The Faculty Board of Science and Technology
  • Revised: 2007-03-15
  • Revised by: The Faculty Board of Science and Technology
  • Applies from: Autumn 2007
  • Entry requirements:

    Bachelor's degree including alternative 1) 40 credit points/60 credits biology and 20 credit points/30 credits chemistry or 20 credit points/30 credits earth sciences; alternative 2) 60 credit points/90 credits biology. In both cases, the biology should contain Ecology MN1 or Limnology MN1.

  • Responsible department: Biology Education Centre

Learning outcomes

The course intends to provide deeper knowledge in population and community ecological theory. The course also gives skills in using mathematical models as tool for understanding population and community ecology processes. After the course, the student should be able to:

Understand and describe

  • choosing and using models in ecology. How to design, analyse and test population models. The difference between phenomenological and mechanistic models.
  • basic models for intraspecific interactions. Density dependency population dynamics.
  • basic models for interspecific interactions. Predator prey models, mechanisms for coexistence at equilibrium, non equilibrium.
  • stage and age structured population dynamics: demographic effects, effects of different life history strategies.
  • the niche concept and alternative models (e.g. neutral theory) for biodiversity and species composition.
  • the importance of species composition and diversity for population and community dynamics.
  • the importance of interactions in food webs for the development of populations and communities.
  • Trophic dynamics, direct and indirect effects in food webs.
  • the importance of spatial scale for interactions within and between populations.
  • interactions between metapopulations and metacommunities.


The course is based on the students' background in ecology from basic courses and provides a deeper knowledge in ecological theory. The course comprises a considerable amount of group assignments stressing the planning scientific investigations and the analysis of ecological data (computer simulation, numerical and statistical calculations) that are presented orally and in written form.

The course gives training in evaluation and critical assessment of research results. The emphasis is on how to handle ecological data to answer problems relevant for ecological research and for practical applications within the nature conservation and sustainable development. The course gives skills in using mathematical and graphic models to analyse population and community processes and from these interpreting results and formulating new hypotheses.

Modules: Theory (10 credits) and exercises (computer based laboratory practicals, group assignments; 5 credits).


The teaching is given in the form of lectures, laboratory practicals, seminars, computer exercises, literature assignments and project work. Participation in lab practicals, computer assignments and project work is compulsory.


Participation in computer-based laboratory sessions and group assignments are compulsory, and being followed up through oral and written reports equivalent to 5 credits. The theoretical part is comprised by a written examination corresponding to 10 credits.

Reading list

The reading list is missing. For further information, please contact the responsible department.

Last modified: 2022-04-26