Degree course: 
Corso di First cycle degree in BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
Academic year when starting the degree: 
Academic year in which the course will be held: 
Course type: 
Supplementary compulsory subjects
Second semester
Standard lectures hours: 
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (48 hours)

Although no prerequisites are required, the student must have acquired the fundamental notions of zoology and botany as well as the basic elements of organic and inorganic chemistry.

Final Examination: 

A written exam is foreseen that will propose questions related to the program carried out to evaluate a) the knowledge acquired and the ability to understand (60%), b) the ability to apply the knowledge acquired to develop reasoning on environmental issues (20%) and c) interpretative autonomy of the main theories of ecology (20%).

Voto Finale

The course aims to provide basic knowledge of the structures and functions of ecosystems and of the mechanisms and laws that underlie the environmental balance and biological organization at the population and community level. The student will acquire skills and abilities in identifying the basic organization processes of ecosystem processes and the environmental mechanisms that regulate biological organization in natural ecosystems. To complete the training course, the course also aims to provide the basis of human ecology for understanding the gene-culture co-evolutionary process. The course also aims to educate the student in the technical language of the Ecological discipline.

The course will develop the following topics: energy flows at the biosphere and biological compartments level (10 hours). Structural and functional properties of the levels of organization of the living component of the ecosystem: individuals, populations and communities (14 hours). Biogeochemical cycles of the main elements (5 hours). Main natural ecosystems of the biosphere (3 hours). Elements of numerical analysis of biodiversity (5 hours). Examples of ecological management of environmental problems and ecosystem services (3 hours). Basics of human ecology (6 hours). Basics of molecular ecology (2 hours)

Levels of organization: the concept of hierarchy in ecology, temporal and spatial scales, emerging properties of ecological systems. The ecosystem: abiotic components such as resources and environmental conditions, tolerance and limiting factors, gradients and ecotones, habitats and niches. Open and closed ecosystems. Energy: ecological implications of the principles of thermodynamics. Solar radiation and climate, the ozone screen, energy flow through the biosphere and the biological compartment (Odum model), food grids, solar radiation and climate zones. Biogeochemical cycles: basic elements, the hydrological cycle, water scarcity and rain shadow, carbon cycles, ozone, phosphorus and nitrogen. Ecology of populations and communities: growth models r- and K- strategist, growth of human population, growth in competition, birth rate and mortality. Ecosystem services: examples and case studies. The main terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Biodiversity: the measure of wealth in species, evenness and heterogeneity. Human ecology; biological and genetic coevolution. Basics of molecular ecology at population and community level.


The training objectives of the course will be achieved through lectures for a total of 48 hours.
Classroom lessons will be carried out with the help of slides and videos that will be made available to students on the E-learning platform.
In order to promote the application skills of the acquired knowledge, case studies concerning the most current national and international environmental problems and critical issues will be presented and discussed collectively.

The teacher is available for interview with students by appointment via e-mail (