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ECOLOGY

CODE 67081
ACADEMIC YEAR 2022/2023
CREDITS
  • 6 cfu during the 2nd year of 8762 SCIENZE BIOLOGICHE (L-13) - GENOVA
  • SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINARY SECTOR BIO/07
    LANGUAGE Italian
    TEACHING LOCATION
  • GENOVA
  • SEMESTER 1° Semester
    PREREQUISITES
    Prerequisites
    You can take the exam for this unit if you passed the following exam(s):
    • Biological Sciences 8762 (coorte 2021/2022)
    • INSTITUTIONS OF MATHEMATICS 52344
    • ZOOLOGY WITH LABORATORY 65517
    TEACHING MATERIALS AULAWEB

    OVERVIEW

    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.

    AIMS AND CONTENT

    LEARNING OUTCOMES

    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.

    AIMS AND LEARNING OUTCOMES

    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.

    PREREQUISITES

    There are no specific prerequisites, but basic knowledge of zoology is recommended to effectively address the module content.

    TEACHING METHODS

    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.

    SYLLABUS/CONTENT

    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.

    Autoecology

    • The physical environment: climate, soil, water, limiting factors.

    • Adaptations of plant organisms.

    • Adaptations of animal organisms.

    Population ecology

    • 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.

    Community ecology

    • 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.

    Ecosystems ecology

    • 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.

    RECOMMENDED READING/BIBLIOGRAPHY

    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.

    TEACHERS AND EXAM BOARD

    Exam Board

    MARIACHIARA CHIANTORE (President)

    GINA DE LA FUENTE MANCEBO

    VALENTINA ASNAGHI (President Substitute)

    CRISTINA MISIC (Substitute)

    LESSONS

    LESSONS START

    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.

    Class schedule

    ECOLOGY

    EXAMS

    EXAM DESCRIPTION

    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.

    ASSESSMENT METHODS

    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.

    Exam schedule

    Date Time Location Type Notes
    26/01/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
    09/02/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
    23/02/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
    14/06/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
    11/07/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
    05/09/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
    19/09/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale

    FURTHER INFORMATION

    Regular class attendance is strongly recommended