GOALS: This class is intended to provide the following:
1. In-depth understanding of the major areas of population ecology, including demography, single-species population dynamics, density-dependent regulation of populations.
depth understanding of interactions between pairs of species,
including competition, predation (and disease if time allows).
introduction to other areas of ecology, such as community
ecology (diversity and stability, island biogeography,
succession), ecosystem ecology (carbon cycles) behavioral
ecology (territoriality, optimal foraging), and evolutionary
ecology (life history trade-offs).
4. The first
three goals are content-oriented. In addition, the
class has three process-oriented goals:
Hours & Location: 2:10 - 3:00 MWF, 101 Roberts Hall
Dr. Scott Creel, 302 Lewis Hall, Phone:
994-7033 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Office Hours: MW 10:30 -12:00 or by appointment. If these hours are not convenient, please talk to me after class to arrange another time and we will figure something out. I almost always have time for questions right after class. You're also welcome to email questions (but if you email me just before a test, I might not read it in time).
Text: Elements of Ecology, 8th edition by Smith &
Smith is required. Any other reading will will be posted
via links to pdf files on this web page.
notes: are available
from the links below. I will update these regularly
throughout the semester.
Overheads: the figures that I use in overheads are posted as pdf files in the links below. I occasionally add new material at the last minute, to incorporate new studies, but most of the overheads are in the pdf file links.
%. (Exam 3 will fall in finals week.
A small part of it will be comprehensive, but it will
primarily cover new material) The tests
will mainly be multiple choice questions and perhaps some short
answer. For some material, the tests involve doing calculations,
so bring your calculator on exam days.
Problem sets and/or quizes on computer exercises: 25% Several subjects will include short homework assignments. In these, you will use the methods described in lectures to test ideas with computer simulations of population dynamics or interactions between species. In some cases, a graded homework assignment or a short quiz will be based on the computer exercise. Together, these homework assignments account for 25% of the grade. Doing one optional HW assignment will allow you to drop your lowest HW grade.
Computer Exercises: Some homework assignments will use the
software packages GenX and POPULUS to examine evolution,
population growth, and interactions among species (such as interspecific competition and
predation), in a series of computer labs. POPULUS has simple
simulations that allow you to manipulate the variables in
mathematical models of ecological processes, and see the results
graphically. GenX lets you manipulate evolutionary forces
in two populations. Both are free programs that you can
download and run on your own computer,
You can also run both programs on any MSU networked computer without downloading and installing them. Look for GenX.exe and for the run.bat file in the Populus folder within the Biology 303 folder at \\hopper\labshare (which you can access using 'Map Network Drive' by right-clicking 'My Computer' on any networked machine). To learn about access to software on the MSU local network, see this link: Using Network Drives to Access Software on the MSU network.
lecture notes and reading assignments: Lecture titles will be
linked to lecture notes. We will post each lecture’s
notes after the lecture.
||definition, levels of
analysis, types of ecological
Rainfall and NPP example from NASA earth observatory dataset
forces, selection & response,
proximate/ultimate causation example -bat sonar
Thomson's gazelle & cheetah example
adaptive radiation example - WP finch (evolved to fill an empty niche after colonizing island with no woodpeckers)
Fox color selection example (artificial selection by humans),
Maze-learning heritability in rats example
OH set 2
Evolutionary forces and population differentiaton: GenX simulation This HW will be assigned and explained FRIDAY 1/17 in class. There is no specific item to turn in from this exercise. Work through it until you have a good understanding of interactions between natural selection, genetic drift and isolation to prepare for a short QUIZ using GenX on WEDNESDAY 1/22 in class .
physical processes, biomes
Animation of Hadley cells, atmospheric pressure, and precipitation - spatial and seasonal patterns of precipitation at the global scale
Coriolis effect on surface winds
Animal Physiological Ecology
ecology - some adaptive solutions to temperature
and water limitation
Plant Physiological Ecology
physiological ecology - adaptive solutions to abiotic
problems of water and temperature
Short quiz in class FRIDAY 2/7 over abiotic processes (CH 2,6,7, OH set 3,4,5 and associated lectures).
UPDATED GRADES WITH QUIZ 2
OH set 5
Carbon cycles, radiation budgets, anthropogenic effects, abiotic & ecological response
Keeling Curve, Vostok and other ice core data from NOAA
Ecological responses to climate change: figures and examples used in class:
Climate envelope approach: one, two.
Fitter & Fitter 2002 - plant phenology (see fig 1 & table 1)
Diamond et al 2011 - butterfly phenology
Burkle et al 2013 Plant bee phenological mismatch
wolverine example - not assigned
IPCC GCM emission scenarios) - not assigned
OH set 6
tables, population growth and life history trade-offs
(using reproductive value)
survivorship, fecundity, Ro, T, r
HW2 (OPTIONAL, DUE MONDAY 3/3/2014)
Key for HW2
Life history trade off examples
8 (as background)
CHAPTER 9 (section 9.2 onward)
CHAPTER 10 (sections 10.1 - 10.6)
|EXAM 1||Exam one will be Friday February 21st.||Study
Guide for Exam 1
grades as of 2/24/14. Approximate grade
cut-offs, if this distribution of scores did not change by
the end of the semester, would be:
|Exponential vs density dependent growth||exponential
growth, limitation and regulation
population growth examples
|Verhulst-Pearl, linear density dependence||New
wildebeest example. Part 2
Nonlinear density dependence - theta logistic example
| Interspecific competition
competition, competition coefficients, Lotka-Volterra
POPULUS EXERCISE: COMPETITION Short in class quiz over the Lotka-Volterra model of interspecific competition will in class on FRIDAY 3/21.
(sections 14.1 - 14.5)
African wild dog case study
principles and 4 case studies
||CHAPTER 13 (as background)
CHAPTER 14 (section 14.6 -14.11)
||Test date is set: WEDNESDAY
3/26 in class
Grades as of 4/1/2014 (one HW/quiz and Final exam remaining). I've updated the grades to drop your low HW/quiz if you did the optional HW, and calculated the grade distribution including Exam 2.
The mean score is now 80.4. The guaranteed highest cutoffs are:
90 = A (33 students)
80 = B (36, cumulative 69)
70 = C (41, cumulative 110)
60 = D (12, cumulative, 122)
50 = F (7, cumulative 129)
These might move down after the final by a point or so, but will not move up.
(updated on Monday 3/17)
and red kangaroo example
compensation vs additivity, harvest models and Lotka-Volterra model
Creel & Rotella 2010, Sparkman 2011 examples
2011 USWFS N Rockies wolf annual report
- for figures examining additive/compensatory harvest mortality
Collapse of N.Atlantic cod -risk of FQ harvest & tragedy of the commons
Huffaker 1958 mite experiments with predator - prey cycles - for figures only
lynx hare example
OH set 13
Harvest models, compensation vs additivity, Lotka - Volterra
Functional & numeric response
and numeric responses, empirical
data on predator-prey cycles
Some things just have to be seen to be believed...
POPULUS EXERCISE: PREDATION Brief in class quiz on this exercise WEDNESDAY April 9th. Basic Lotka Volterra model and the effects of adding: (1) density dependent prey population growth, (2) realistic functional response by predators.
|Wolf-Elk case study||Risk effects - the effects of predators on prey other than direct predation|
Community and Ecosystem structure and function
What determines community diversity?
Diversity and stability
CHAPTER 20 through
OH set 19
|| Final is in the regular
room at 8:00 AM on TUESDAY 29
guide for final
Grades: the mean score on the final exam was 75.5,
and the mean class grade was 80.0.