Main field(s) of study and in-depth level:
Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
The Faculty Board of Science and Technology
150 credits including (1) 60 credits in biology and 30 credits in chemistry or 30 credits in earth science, or (2) 90 credits biology, in both cases including the intermediate course Ecology, 15 credits, or Limnology, 15 credits. English language proficiency that corresponds to English studies at upper secondary (high school) level in Sweden ("English 6").
The course intends to support advanced knowledge-building in ecological theory in population and community ecologytogether with skills in using mathematical models as tools to understand the development of populations and community ecology processes. On completion of the course, the student should be able to:
explain how and why one uses models in ecology
construct population models, identify equilibria, assess their stability and investigate how properties of equilibria depend on parameters (bifurcation analysis)
construct basic models of intraspecific interactions (density dependent population dynamics) and interspecific interactions (predatory-prey models, mechanisms for coexistence)
explain the application of stage and age structured population dynamics: demographic effects, effects of different life history strategies
apply the niche concept and alternative models (for example neutral theory) on biodiversity patterns and to evaluate the importance of species composition and diversity for population and community dynamics
assess the importance of interactions in food webs for the development of populations and communities, and evaluate the concepts of trophic dynamics, direct and indirect effects in food webs
explain the importance of spatial scale for interactions within and between populations and account for interactions between metapopulations and metacommunities
analyse ecological data and test hypotheses, critically review research results/theories and formulate new questions
communicate scientific results orally and in written form
identify and discuss aspects related to research ethics.
The course is based on the students' background knowledge of ecology from basic courses and provides a deeper knowledge of ecological theory. The course comprises a considerable part of group assignments stressing the planning of scientific investigations and the analysis of ecological data (computer simulations, numerical and statistical calculations) that are presented orally and in written form. The course gives skills in using mathematical and graphical models to analyse population and community processes and from these interpreting results and formulating new hypotheses.
The course includes training in evaluation and critical assessment of research results from a scientific as well as an ethical perspective. The emphasis is on obtaining insights about ecological processes using both theory and ecological data to solve problems relevant for ecological research and for practical applications within conservation and sustainable development.
The teaching is given in the form of lectures, , seminars, computer exercises, literature assignments and project work. Participation in seminars, computer exercises, literature assignment and project work is compulsory.
Modules: Theory 10 credits (written exam); exercises (computer-based laboratory sessions, group assignments) 5 credits. The module exercises require active participation in computer-based laboratory sessions and group assignments and is followed up by oral and written presentations.
If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the disability coordinator of the university.