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LAND 124 - Introduction to Ecology
Course Details
Course Code:
LAND 124

Credits:
3

Calendar Description:
This course will introduce the student to the basic concepts of ecology. Topics of study will include: the ecosystem concept; trophic webs and energy flow; biogeochemistry; effects of the abiotic environment on organisms; population and community dynamics, and; changes in ecosystem structure and function.

Hours:
Total Hours: 45
Lecture Hours: 3

Total Weeks:
45

Pre-Requisites:
Full-time enrollment in the LRM program or consent of the instructor

Course Content:
1. Outline the role and history of ecology
- outline the historical development of ecology
- describe the discipline of ecology
- describe the problem of human population growth
- outline the link between human population growth and ecology

2. Describe the ecosystem concept
- describe the levels of biological organization
- describe the ecosystem concept
- describe biological integration
- outline ecosystem change

3. Outline the transfer and storage of energy in ecosystems
- describe sources of energy for life
- outline energy flow (trophic wes, ecological pyramids)
- outline primary production processes and components
- describe detritus trophic chains

4. Describe nutrient cycling in ecosystems
- outline sources of plant and animal nutrition
- describe geochemical nutrient cycling
- outline biochemical cycling
- describe biogeochemical cycling
- outline the effects of pollution and contamination on nutrient cycling
- describe changes in nutrient cycling that occur over succession

5. Describe the effects of abiotic factors on organisms
- outline the effects of solar radiation, temperature and wind on organisms
- describe soil in an ecological context
- describe water in an ecological context
- describe the effects of fire on ecosystems

6. Outline factors that affect the abundance and dynamics of species populations
- describe demographics and population growth
- outline primary determinants of population size
- outline theories of population size regulation
- outline cyclical population fluctuations and predation

7. Outline community dynamics
- outline structure and growths forms in plant communities
- describe distribution of species along environmental gradients
- outline ecotones and identify significant factors in their dynamics
- describe competitive exclusion and ecological niches
- outline biological diversity

8. Outline changes in ecosystem function and structure
- outline theories and concepts of succession
- describe mechanisms of successional change
- describe seres
- outline problems with the climax concept
- describe role of disturbance in forested landscapes
- describe changes in ecosystem function and biological diversity that occur with succession

9. Identify and describe significant local indicator plant species
- demonstrate ability to identify 25 significant local indicator plants
- describe significance and ecological aplitude of these 25 species

10. Demonstrate knowledge of biogeoclimatic ecosystem classification systems for BC
- describe ecological classification systems
- describe edatopic grids
- describe the BEC system
- demonstrate the use of guidebooks for site classification

Learning Outcomes:
Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:
1. outline the role and history of ecology
2. describe the ecosystem concept
3. outline the transfer and storage of energy in ecosystems
4. describe nutrient cycling in ecosystems
5. describe the effects of abiotic factors on organisms
6. outline factors that affect the abundance and dynamics of species populations
7. outline community dynamics
8. outline changes in ecosystem function and structure
9. identify and describe significant local indicator plant species
10. demonstrate knowledge of biogeoclimatic ecosystem classification systems for BC

Grading System:
Letters

Grading Weight:
Final Exam: 50 %
Assignments: 35 %
Project: 5 %
Participation: 10 %

Other Programs:
Land & Resource Management Diploma
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