COMMUNITY ECOLOGY

Teaching in italian
COMMUNITY ECOLOGY
Teaching
COMMUNITY ECOLOGY
Subject area
BIO/07
Reference degree course
COASTAL AND MARINE BIOLOGY AND ECOLOGY
Course type
Master's Degree
Credits
6.0
Teaching hours
Front activity hours: 54.0
Academic year
2021/2022
Year taught
2021/2022
Course year
1
Language
ENGLISH
Curriculum
PERCORSO COMUNE
Reference professor for teaching
MANCINELLI GIORGIO
Location
Lecce

Teaching description

Teaching program is provisional and may be subject to changes

Knowledge of basic ecological concepts provided in undergraduate ecology courses

The course moves from a preliminary yet detailed presention of founding theories in community ecology casted within the general historical evolution of the ecological discipline, from Charles Elton to the present day. Subsequently, specific conceptual and methodological issues are addressed, specifically: i) macroecology and community organization: emphasis is placed on island biogeographic theory by Wilson and MacArthur, in order to introduce statistical approaches based on null models for testing the role of competitive interactions in community assembly; ii) relations between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning: the classical rivets, redundancy, and idiosyncratic models are examined in detail and compared with the results of published experiments conducted both in the field and in the laboratory; reference is made to the theories of MacArthur and May on the relationship between the complexity of natural communities and their stability; iii) top-down and bottom-up controls: after a summary of the Eltonian pyramids concept, the Hairston, Smith and Slobodkin theory of trophic cascades is addressed in detail, discussing aquatic as well terrestrial examples; iv) food webs: the most recent developments related to the topic are presented, such as augmented networks, high complexity networks, and bipartite networks; the use of carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes for the analysis of marine food webs is presented. Laboratory activities focus on formalization and data analysis exercises using specific statistical methods and the free software package R. If possible, field excursions to the Porto Cesareo Marine Protected area are performed, in order to collect quantitative information on the biodiversity of the community characterizing the area, to be used for building a trophic network

The objectives of the course are to present students in a clear and contextualized way with the most updated and debated conceptual topics in community ecology and at the same time provide the methodological and statistical tools necessary to analyze the structure and dynamics of natural communities

1) Lectures; 2) discussion of seminal papers in community ecology (student talks); 3) supervised practical activities performed in the computer lab using previously prepared material made available on-line; 4) field excursions and group activities (working groups) (if possible)

Final exam consisting in 1) written review of a scientific article chosen by the student among those discussed during the course; 2) written multiple choice test

Slides and training materials made available online in pdf format taken from the following reference texts:

Morin – Community Ecology
Gotelli – Null Models in Ecology
Polis & Winemiller – Food Webs
Bolker – Ecological Models and Data in R

Semester
Second Semester (dal 07/03/2022 al 10/06/2022)

Exam type
Compulsory

Type of assessment
Oral - Final grade

Course timetable
https://easyroom.unisalento.it/Orario

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