|SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINARY SECTOR||BIO/07|
Ecology is the science that studies the complex relationships between organisms and the environment in which they live and that highlights and analyses the mutual influences of the living and non-living components in ecosystems.
The aim of the module is to provide solid basic knowledge on the structure and functioning of natural systems, with particular emphasis on the mechanisms that determine the distribution and abundance of organisms according to their relationships with the environment. The module provides basic knowledge about the classification and distribution of ecosystems, the interactions between species, biodiversity and ecosysetm functioning. The subject also aims to provide evidences of global climate change and of the main direct anthropogenic disturbances. The module highlights the hierarchical and interdisciplinary nature of ecology with the aim of encouraging students to deal with complex and multi-scalar disciplines and problems.
The module aims to provide solid basic knowledge on the structure and functioning of natural systems, with particular emphasis on the mechanisms that determine both the distribution and abundance of organisms, as well as their relations with the environment.
The module highlights the hierarchical and interdisciplinary nature of ecology with the aim of encouraging students to deal with complex and multi-scalar disciplines and problems. This objective is reflected in the organization of the program that runs along the hierarchical scale of ecological organization, from the mechanisms underlying biodiversity (evolutionary ecology), passing through the adaptations of plant and animal organisms to the environment (autoecology), to population dynamics (demoecology), up to the structure and functioning of communities and ecosystems (synecology).
The module will provide the basis for further specialized studies in ecosystem and applied ecology, biodiversity conservation and sustainable environmental management.
There are no specific prerequisites, but basic knowledge of zoology is recommended to effectively address the module content.
For the first semester, classes will be carried out in presence in compliance with the capacity limits of the classrooms / laboratories and the distance provided for by the current legislation following the emergency COVID19, and any further updates.
Please refer to the specific AulaWeb application for this module for any updates due to changes in the health and epidemiological situation, and for all the other updates.
The program of the module include the following topics:
Introduction to ecology
• Notes on the history of ecological thinking. Ecology and environmentalism.
• Natural Selection and Evolution.
• The physical environment: climate, soil, water, limiting factors.
• Adaptations of plant organisms.
• Adaptations of animal organisms.
• Dispersion of organisms in space. Aggregate, random, uniform spatial distributions.
• Estimate of the density and number of individuals in a population.
• Elementary growth of a population. Mortality and fertility tables. Growth rates. Exponential and logistic models. Distribution of ages in a population. Mortality and survival curves.
• Intra- and interspecific relations. Competition, predation, symbiosis. Gause principle and competition models.
• Elements of analysis of the structure of the communities. Diversity and evenness. Species-area curve.
• Balance model, area and distance effects. Habitat and ecological niche concepts.
• Populations and communities in ecological gradients. Ecotones and the "margin effect" concept. Climax concept. Ecological successions.
• Metapopulations and metacommunities.
• Ecosystem concept. Ecosystem structure.
• Fundamental concepts of energy. Food chains. Trophic networks. Trophic levels.
• Primary production. Grazing and detritus food chains. Trophic structures and ecological pyramids.
• Biomes: tropical rain forest, temperate forest, boreal forest, prairie, savannah, Mediterranean biome, tundra, desert. Aquatic, marine and freshwater, ecosystems. Transitional ecosystems.
• Biogeochemical cycles.
Man and the environment
• Climate changes. Study cases.
Available (downloadable from Aulaweb) a copy of the presentations used during classes (in pdf), didactic material and scientific articles for further information. The teaching material is therefore made up mainly by personal notes and by the material available on Aulaweb. The recommended reference text is the following:
Ecologia. MICHAEL L. CAIN, WILLIAM D. BOWMAN, SALLY D. HACKER. 2017. Ed. Piccin, Terza Edizione.
MARIACHIARA CHIANTORE (President)
GINA DE LA FUENTE MANCEBO
VALENTINA ASNAGHI (President Substitute)
CRISTINA MISIC (Substitute)
For lessons start and timetable go to the link: https://easyacademy.unige.it/portalestudenti/
Please check the module Aulaweb page for timetable updates, also dependent on the sanitary and epidemic situation.
The exam consists of an oral test concerning the topics covered during classes. The exam is passed if the student has obtained a score greater than or equal to 18/30.
There will be 2 exam sessions in the winter session (January-February) and 5 exam sessions in the summer session (June, July, September).
Please refer to the AulaWeb specific module for any updates due to changes in the health and epidemiological situation, and for any further updates.
Details on how to prepare for the exam and the degree of detail required for each topic will be provided at the beginning of the module and confirmed during classes. The oral exam will mainly focus on the topics covered during classes and will aim to assess the achievement of the appropriate level of knowledge, which the student have to be able to connect and integrate. The ability to synthesize and recognize the main aspects of the topic will be evaluated and the ability to expose the arguments clearly and with a correct terminology will also be considered. The completeness and correctness of the exercises proposed during classes will also be positively evaluated to those who will have done them and will take them to be evaluated during the exam.
Regular class attendance is strongly recommended