ECOLOGIA DELLE POPOLAZIONI E COMUNITA'

Degree course: 
Corso di Second cycle degree in ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES
Academyc year when starting the degree: 
2020/2021
Year: 
1
Academyc year when helding the course: 
2020/2021
Course type: 
Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class
Credits: 
6
Period: 
Second semester
Standard lectures hours: 
68
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (28 hours), Exercise (40 hours)
Requirements: 

Ecology

The exam will be oral for a duration of 20 minutes; Topics will be required:

• assessment of knowledge relating to the dynamics and mechanisms that regulate communities (50%)
• Main theories on the cultural and biological coevolution of the human species (20%)

A Presentation of ecological data processing (computer simulations, numerical and statistical calculations) using powerpoint presentation (30%) will be required (10 minutes)

Assessment: 
Voto Finale

The course provides an in-depth knowledge of ecological theory on: 1) community ecology: analysis of the structural and functional relationships that define communities; 2) analysis of the complexity within interspecific and intraspecific relationships (theory of general systems); 3) ecology and evolution 4) human-nature co-evolution.

Expected learning outcomes:
1. knowledge of the main theories on community ecology
2. experience with mathematical models related to fluctuation dynamics to define coexistence
3. knowledge of the ecology of the community and its evolutionary implications
4. connection between biological and cultural evolution of the human species

the course provides:
• ability to use mathematical and graphical models to analyze population and community processes. Learn to interpret the results and formulate new hypotheses.
• bioinformatics processing skills to be summarized in an oral and / or written presentation

The topics proposed in the course deal with the following topics:
• theories on the development of biological diversity [4 hours]
• species interaction models [4 hours].
• competition in nature: empirical and theoretical patterns [4 hours]
• final and non-final effects on evolutionary and ecological adaptation dynamics [4 hours].
• theories and debates on ecology and evolution [4 hours]
• co-evolution of man-nature [4 hours].
• The cultural niche and past and future human cultural evolution [4 hours].

The course includes practice experiences based on new applied tools based on genetic inferences. Molecular ecology tools will be aimed at analyzing the evolution of the wildlife population and the dynamics of the community.
The proposed activities will focus on a computer lab [40 hours] in which the basic elements of bioinformatics tools applied to evolutionary inferences will be proposed, such as the phylogenetic reconstruction of evolutionary trees, the taxonomic assessment based on the molecular dataset, the phytogeographic dynamics, the connection of the population and the implications of gene flow.

Teaching is given in the form of lectures, computer exercises and literature assignments. Participation at molecular lab activities and computer bioinformatics exercises are strongly suggested.

Lecture presentations will be provided on the e-learning website;
A detailed scientific literature will also be provided.

Main texts:
Mittelbach G.G. 2012. Community Ecology. Ed. Sinauer.
Beebee T., Rowe G. 2008. An introduction to Molecular ecology. 2nd edition. Oxford University Press.

14 Lectures (28 hours)
40 Lab hours: exercises based on bioinformatic computer laboratory

The teacher is available for interview with students by appointment via e-mail (serena.zaccara@uninsubria.it)