Basic Course Information

 Nice work on the competition quiz, people.  At 8 PM almost 100 are done - the mean is 81.8 and the median is 87.5, so the best one yet.  Well done!!

Begining March 23, check here regularly for announcements.  I am adding sets of short online lectures to each of the  modules that cover the key concepts. These are paired with Populus exercises and reading assignments for each of the modules in the main menu.  The online lectures begin in the Ecological Niches module. 

I've set up a Discussion forum in the D2L page for this class.  Please post any questions there, and please feel free to answer  questions, though I will check it and respond so that everyone can see my answers.  Use this instead of email; it will (literally) keep everyone on the same page.  Of course, also feel free to email me with anything that doesn't pertain to everyone.

The class will remain on a schedule, which is posted  here.
This lists the dates for quizzes and tests, and expected dates to complete online lectures, reading and compueter exercises.

Note  that there is a new Populus software link in the menu at the left to remind you of the   instructions for how to download Populus if you had not set it up already.

The quizzes and tests will be on the course D2L page.  All of the course CONTENT will still be on this class webpage.

If you have a blue card to take exams with extra time, etc., your individul link to the quiz (with your name) will be just below the main link in the calendar.

There is  a quiz over competition and exam 2 after we finish ecological niches.  After that, there will be no more exams (no final). Instead, there will be an online quiz after each module (two of these, with 20 questions each).

You can choose to switch to Pass/Fail grading at the end of the semester (for this and any other course) by submitting a request to through  University Registrar’s website within five days after final grades are posted.  From MSU:  "Gradesof C- or higher earn a Pass ... under the P/F option, neither pass nor fail grades will be factored into students’ Grade Point Average (GPA). Pass grades will count towards earned semester hours. An F grade will not count towards earned semester hours in either the A-F or P/F options."  The request form and instructions will be on the MSU registrar's website at least 2 weeks before the semester ends.


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:

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: 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 121 or M 161 or M 171 (Introductory Calculus)

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