Basic Course Information


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.
  2. In depth understanding of interactions between pairs of species, including competition, predation (and disease if time allows).
  3. An 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:
    • to develop the ability to interpret data sets
    • to develop the ability to understand and explain an ecological process verbally, graphically, and algebraically
    • to develop the ability to relate these three methods of description to one another.

Class Hours & Location

2:10 - 3:00 MWF 101 Roberts Hall


Dr. Scott Creel, 311-A Lewis Hall (end of the short hallway on the SE corner), Phone: 994-7033  Email: [email protected]

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 am happy to answer questions right after class, feel free to catch me then.  You're also welcome to email questions (but if you email me just before a test, I might not read it in time).

TA & Recitation/Help Sessions

Milan Vinks (Office: Room 3 AJM Johnson, Email: [email protected]) will give an overview of important points from the week's material and answer questions  at 5:00 on Monday and Wednesday in 306 Lewis Hall, starting in the second week.  He is also available to answer questions at other times or by email.


Elements of Ecology, 9th edition by Smith & Smith  is required. The text  is available as an e-book , loose-leaf  and used bound copies at the MSU bookstore. Any other reading will will be posted via links to pdf files on this web page.  Several copies of the textbook are on reserve in the library.


There are several out-of-class computer exercises.  One of these uses GenX, the others all use Populus.  There are links to these programs in the first modules that you will use them (GenX in Evolutionary Ecology, Populus in Population Growth).  Accessing and using the software will be explained in class.

Posted Grades

I will post the grades on D2L.  All of the regular course content will be on this website, and only grades will be on D2L. See the top of the course outline (on the left of this webpage) for details on grades.


Biology - BIOB 170 or BIOB 258 (Organismal Biology)

Math - M 161 or M 171 (Introductory Calculus)

Strongly suggested - STAT 216 (Introduction to Statistics) or BIOB 318 (Biometry)