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General Ecology

General data

Course ID: 1400-112EKOO Erasmus code / ISCED: 07.2 / (unknown)
Course title: General Ecology Name in Polish: Ekologia ogólna
Department: Faculty of Biology
Course groups: Requisite courses for first-year students of Biology
Requisite subjects for first-year students of Environmental Protection
ECTS credit allocation (and other scores): 6.00
Language: Polish
Type of course:

general courses
obligatory courses
optional courses

Prerequisites (description):

Students have an elementary knowledge of basic ecology on secondary school level.


(in Polish) w sali

Short description:

Ecology as a scientific discipline, the scope of interests, basic definitions. Basic ecological terms. Ecology and the science of evolution. Variability and natural selection. Ecological consequences of diversified reproductiveness and survival. Adaptations. Life strategies and the evolution of their most important parameters. Conflicts, compromises and evolutionary dilemmas. The optimization theory. Interactions between organisms and the environment, ecological tolerance. A population as a set of individuals of the same species, ecological niche. Interactions between individuals. Demographic parameters and population processes. Metapopulations. Interspecies interactions. The evolution of biotic interactions; coevolution. Community as a set of individuals of different species. Community structure. Biodiversity and methods of its assessment. The theory of ecosystem. Trophic structure, bioenergetics of food chains. Productivity of ecosystems. Succession. Ecological landscape.

Full description:

1. What is ecology? – the ambiguity of this term. The science of ecology. Application of the scientific methods to ecology – deduction, induction. Basic ecological terms (environment, habitat, limiting factor, population, ecosystem). Methods of approach to ecology. A brief history of ecology.

2. Ecology and the science of evolution. Variability and natural selection. Ecological consequences of diversified reproductiveness and survival. Fitness, adaptations.

3. Life strategies and the evolution of their most important parameters. Conflicts, compromises and evolutionary dilemmas. Levins’ principle of allocation. The optimization theory. Behavioural ecology , mating strategies, sex.

4. Interactions between organisms and the environment, ecological tolerance. Physiological and ecological amplitudes. Liebig’s law of the minimum, Shelford’s law of tolerance. Ecotypes.

5. Basic population ecology. The population as a unit of study. Population structure and organization. Natality, mortality, demographic techniques. Intraspecific competition and its effects.

6. Population density and density-dependent processes. Models of population growth. The analysis of population dynamics – fluctuations, cyclicity, chaos. Regulation of population size.

7. Isolated populations, metapopulation theory. Diffuse populations. Theory of habitat selection – the ideal free distribution concept. Migration and its effects.

8. Principles of population genetics. The Hardy-Weinberg low and its assumptions. Population gene pool and its variability. Effective population size, isolation, genetic drift, inbreeding. Bottleneck effect, founder’s effect.

9. The theory of island biogeography. The theory of ecological landscape. Spatial heterogeneity of habitats, size and isolation of habitat patches, edge effects, ecological barriers and corridors.

10. Ecology of species interactions. Interspecific competition – models of competition, apparent competition and indirect effects, character displacement. The concept of metacommunity. Predation, other kinds of species interactions.

11. Ecosystem theory. Ecosystem productivity, energy flow, trophic levels, trophic efficiency. Ecosystem regulation; top-down and bottom-up. HSS model of community. Biomanipulation. Ecological succession.

12. Spatial and temporal variability of factors shaping life conditions on Earth. Productivity of ecosystems, primary and secondary productivity.

13. Biosphere diversity. Species diversity measures. Recent biodiversity on Earth and its changeability in time and space. Recent threats over biodiversity.

14. Basic human ecology. Increase of human population and its consequences. The place of human being in natural anthropogenic food chains. Food production and its ecological limitations, the problem of feeding of human population. Energetic subsidizing of food production.

15. Perspectives and tendencies of ecology development in Poland and in the world; the role of ecology in solving recent environmental problems – discussion with students.


Basic bibliography:

1. Begon, M., Mortimer, M., Thompson D.J. 1999. Ekologia populacji. Studium porównawcze zwierząt i roślin. PWN, Warszawa.

2. Falińska, K. 1996. Ekologia roślin. Podstawy teoretyczne, populacje, zbiorowiska, procesy. PWN, Warszawa,

3. Krebs, Ch. J., 2011. Ekologia. Eksperymentalna analiza rozmieszczenia i liczebności. PWN, Warszawa.

4. Krzanowska, H., Łomnicki, A., Rabiński J., Szarski H., Szymura J.M., 1997. Zarys mechanizmów ewolucji. PWN, Warszawa.

5. Mackenzie A., Ball A.S., Virdee S.R. 2007. Krótkie wykłady. Ekologia. PWN, Warszawa.

6. Weiner, J. 2006. Życie i ewolucja biosfery, PWN, Warszawa.

Additional bibliography:

1. Begon M., Townsend C.R., Harper J. L. 2006. Ecology. From individuals to ecosystems. Wyd. IV, Blackwell Publishing.

2. Colinvaux P., 1993 Ecology 2. Wiley, John & Sons.

3. Stearns S.C., Hoekstra R.F., 2000. Evolution: an introduction. Oxford Univ. Press, Oxford.

Learning outcomes:


1. Student knows basic concepts in ecology.

2. Students acknowledges the importance of experimental approach in science

3. Students knows global problems concerning the environment.


1. Student can analyse threats to the environment and biological diveristy

Assessment methods and assessment criteria:

Written exam(60% to pass)

Practical placement:


Classes in period "Summer semester 2020/21" (in progress)

Time span: 2021-02-22 - 2021-06-13
Choosen plan division:

see course schedule
Type of class: Class, 60 hours more information
Lecture, 30 hours more information
Coordinators: Andrzej Mikulski, Joanna Pijanowska
Group instructors: Halina Galera, Ingeborga Jarzyna, Andrzej Mikulski, Robert Mysłajek, Barbara Pietrzak, Joanna Pijanowska, Mirosław Ślusarczyk, Maciej Wódkiewicz
Students list: (inaccessible to you)
Examination: Course - Examination
Class - Grading
Lecture - Examination
Course descriptions are protected by copyright.
Copyright by University of Warsaw.