Contribution of the course to the overall degree programme goals
The course provides the knowledge of general ecology essential for the achievement of the learning goals of the graduate program in Environmental Sciences. In particular, the module of "Ecology I" contributes to providing the necessary conceptual and methodological bases:
- for the study of the relationships between living organisms and their environment;
- for understanding the role of organisms in communities and ecosystems;
- to interpret the complexity of mechanisms that govern the functioning of natural ecosystems, both aquatic and terrestrial.
Expected learning outcomes
Ecology, by definition, is the study of the relationships between living organisms and their environment. Actually, it is a complex scientific discipline, articulated in different subdisciplines, each one characterized by specific approaches and methods of investigation. The course of "Ecology I and Laboratory of Methods of Analysis of Ecological Systems" aims to provide both the basic knowledge of general ecology and an introduction to the main ecological sub-disciplines. The study of ecology is in fact addressed to different levels (individual. population, community, ecosystem and landscape). In particular, the conceptual bases are provided for understanding the adaptations of plant and animal organisms to the environment, the factors that regulate the spatial distribution of species and population growth, the role of biological interactions in determining the structure of communities and the functioning of ecosystems, the role of the disturbance in determining ecological dynamics. Finally, the course aims to contribute to the acquisition by the student of the knowledge necessary for the assessment and management of environmental systems, in a perspective of conservation, enhancement and restoration of ecosystems and natural processes. The course also provides an introduction to the methods used to collect and analyze ecological data.
Basic knowledge of animal biology and plant biology.
Planning of ecological data recording. Sampling, analysis and interpretation of ecological data. Estimates of abundance: the sampling square method; the sampling unit. Population dispersion models. Aquatic ecosystems: methods of studying plankton, benthos and necton. Population level: methods for estimating the size of fish populations: recapture marking; multiple catches with removal; determination of individual age; length-weight regression and somatic condition indices. Community level: analysis of lagoon fish communities; analysis of planktonic communities and coastal marine bentoncihe; analysis of macrobenthic communities of running waters. Imagers and biological indices: the extended biotic index (IBE).
Slides of lessons and other learning materials
- Cain L.C., Bowman W.D., Hacker S.D., 2017. Ecologia. Piccin Nuova Libraria S.p.A., Padova.
- Thomas M. Smith, Robert Leo Smith - Elementi di ecologia. Pearson Italia, Milano, Torino
- Henderson P.A., 2003. Pratical methods in ecology. Wiley-Blackwell, 163 pp.
The assessment of learning is carried out by means of a written exam consisting of questions that provide for the choice between multiple answers, questions that require an answer in full and the carryng out of two exercises. The questions with a choice of answer and those with an answer in full, aimed at assessing the level of learning of the topics of general ecology addressed during the course, contribute for a maximum of 6/30 and 9/30 to the final evaluation respectively. The exercises, related to the methodological part of the course and to the laboratory work, contribute to the final evaluation for a maximum of 15/30.
The course is organized in lectures and in laboratory work. The "Ecology I" module consists of lectures that address the main topics of ecology at the levels of individual, population, community and ecosystem and ecological landscape. The lectures can be integrated with specialized seminars. The slides used for lessons will be made available on the online platform. The laboratory activity consists of both practical experiences and numerical exercises.
Type of exam
2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals
This subject deals with topics related to the macro-area "Natural capital and environmental quality" and contributes to the achievement of one or more goals of U. N. Agenda for Sustainable Development
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