Ecology & Environment

Ecology & Environment BSS.509 3 Credits
Course Logistics

This twenty-weeks long course is designed to lay foundations of Ecology & Environment with special emphasize on marine estuarine and limnetic ecosystems.

One particularly exciting feature of our course is the free in-course textbook materials. This textbook is not required, but it should be helpful to students who want to read more detailed explanations or additional examples or who want to delve more deeply into topics that fascinate them. Please note that access to the textbook is available only for the duration of the course.  


Short ungraded exercises will occasionally be embedded into lectures. Each lecture will be followed by ungraded exercises. Answers to these exercises will be given and explained after you reply to the questions. These exercises do not introduce new material, but they enable you to check your understanding of the lectures. If you miss too many of the exercises after a lecture, then you might want to listen to that lecture again.

Time Commitment

You should expect to spend on about 3 hours per week taking the lectures, another 2 hours per week doing the exercises, and about 1 hour on each quiz. You might want to spend additional time doing the reading and participating in the discussion forums.

Syllabus & Course Materials

Note: Units II, V, VI and VII will be handled by Dr. Dhanya M.S

Unit I (FB)
The  environment:  Physical  environment,  biotic  environment,  biotic  and  abiotic interactions. 
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea E-Book
Begon - Ecology - From Individuals to Ecosystems 4e E-Book

Unit II (MSD)
Habitat and niche:  Concept of habitat and niche, niche width and overlap, fundamental and realized niche, resource partitioning and character displacement. 

Unit III (FB)
Ecological succession:  Types, mechanisms, changes involved in succession, concept of climax. 
Enger-Ross - Concepts in Biology 10th Ed Chapter 14.
Mader - Biology - Inquiry into Life 9th Ed Chapter 34

Unit IV
Ecosystem:  Structure  and  function,  energy  flow  and  mineral  cycling  (CNP),  primary production  and  decomposition,  structure  and  function  of  some  Indian  ecosystems: 
terrestrial (forest, grassland) and aquatic (fresh water, marine, eustarine). 
Presentations: Ecosystems, Marine Realm, Biomes
Mader - Biology - Inquiry into Life 9th Ed Chapter 36

Unit V (MSD)
Population  ecology:  Characteristics  of  a  population,  population  growth  curves, population  regulation,  life  history  strategies  (r  and  K  selection),  concept  of 
metapopulation – demes and dispersal, interdemic extinctions, age structured populations. 

Unit VI (MSD)
Species  interactions:  Types  of  interactions,  interspecific  competition,  herbivory, carnivory, pollination and symbiosis.

Unit VII (MSD)
Community ecology: Nature of communities, community structure and attributes, levels of species diversity and its measurement, edges and ecotones. 

Unit VIII (FB)
Environmental pollution:  Global environmental change, ozone depletion, biodiversity status, monitoring and documentation, major drivers of biodiversity change, biodiversity 
management approaches, carbon credit. 
Mader - Biology - Inquiry into Life 9th Ed Chapter 36


        Tuesdays and Wednesday's 3rd period, Room # 11.