Ecology 200A: Principles and Applications of Ecological Theory

5 Units, Offered Winter Quarter
Course Instructor: Andy Sih, Environmental Science & Policy

1. Course format: Lecture: four hours; discussion: one hour.

2. Prerequisites: One undergraduate course in ecology (ESP 100), statistics (STA 102), and calculus (MAT 16A). This course is intended for beginning graduate students in ecology.

3. Text used: (i) 200A reader, available at Navin's copy shop. (ii) Real, L.A. & J.H. Brown (eds.). 1991. Foundations of Ecology: classical papers with commentaries. Univ. of Chicago Press. An undergraduate level text for those needing extra help: Begon, M., J.L. Harper & C.R. Townsend. 1996 (3rd edition). Ecology. Blackwell.

4. Mode of grading: Grades are assessed at three levels: (i) Participation in class discussions (25%). (ii) Two research papers, the first a short exploration (15%) and the second a fuller examination of a topic written in two drafts (40%). (iii) Your peer reviews of two other students' papers (20%). In addition, this course will form the basis of a half of the written qualifying exam in Spring quarter (0% [none] of the grade for 200A).

5. Course outline:

A. The prime directive of Ecology 200A is to provide students with a broad background in the principles and theoretical underpinnings of ecology. This serves as preparation for more specialized courses in the ecology program and gives students a general grounding in ecology.

B. Important skills such as critical thinking and communication will be taught through discussions focusing on some of the most important problems in contemporary ecology. Lectures aim to give the necessary background to understand these debates and to understand other important principles and theories in ecology. The course will gain an historical angle both through the lectures and the use of the "Foundations of Ecology" book for class assignments and some discussions.

C. To facilitate individual research, this course will also provide a series of lectures and discussions about the variety of approaches to studying ecology and practical advice about the design and implementation of research studies; this theme will carry across to 200B in winter quarter.

NOTE: For non-Ecology students wishing to take this course: Effective as of 2003, UCD graduate students from other programs must obtain permission from the Ecology program to enroll. Graduate students enrolled in other programs will be required to demonstrate that they have completed course prerequisites prior to consideration for permission to enroll. University Extension enrollment is not allowed.

Registrar's Ecology Course Descriptions