2 x 1-hour lectures weekly
4 x 1-hour tutorials per semester
1 x 32-hour field trip per semester
Admission into MSCAQ-Master of Science (Aquaculture)
Enrolment not permitted
BIOL2711 has been successfully completed
Assumed knowledge
Basic knowledge of ecological principles and the nature and extent of biological diversity such as can be obtained in BIOL1101 Evolution of Biological Diversity.
Topic description

This topic explores the dynamics of natural populations of animals and plants. It focuses on the description of population demography through life table analysis and population growth models, the regulation of population size, and different life history strategies as adaptations for population persistence. It further explores the major interactions between species in ecological communities. These include adverse interactions such as competition between species within trophic levels, and predator-prey, parasite host, plant herbivore interactions across trophic levels. Finally we will discuss how we represent communities, food webs as flows of energy and nutrients. Examples from Australian ecosystems will be considered.

Educational aims

This topic aims to provide an introduction to the fundamental ideas and practices of the science of ecology.

Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic you will be expected to be able to:

  1. Explain the key concepts of population dynamics and understand issues involved with conservation, management or control of populations
  2. Explain the key concepts of interactions among species within an ecological community and the flow of energy within a community
  3. Understand and operate basic mathematical formulae which model population growth, and derive basic parameters describing life history characters of a population
  4. Understand theoretical models that explain the dynamics of population interactions
  5. Discuss the main issues involved in the evolution of life history strategies in a population
  6. Discuss the range of factors that can influence the regulation of population size in natural and managed conditions
  7. Have the practical skills to undertake basic ecological studies