Theoretical Ecology: BIOL765

Department of Biological Sciences,
University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Fall 2010

Dr. David Wethey 704 EWS    Email: wethey at biol.sc.edu     Phone: 777-3936

Course Outline and Assignments

Aug 19 Introduction to Course / Population Dynamics
Aug 24 Fluctuations in Single species models
Aug 26 Fluctuations and Age structure
Aug 31 Fluctuations and Predator-Prey/Host Parasitoid models:Read Volterra paper
Sep 02 Fluctuations: Discussion of Turchin Chapter 2
Sep 09 Fluctuations: Discussion of Turchin Chapter 3
Sep 11 Foraging Strategies
Sep 16 Fluctuations: Discussion of Turchin Chapter 4
Sep 18 Fluctuations: Methods of Data Analysis - Read Turchin Chapters 5 & 6
Sep 23 Discussion of Turchin case studies Ch 9 -11 (Larch budmoth, Southern Pine Beetle, Red Grouse) Led by class members
Sep 25 Discussion of Turchin case studies Ch 12- 14 (Rodents, Snowshoe Hare, Ungulates) Led by class members
Sep 30 Evolutionary Models - Fitness and Population Genetics
Oct 02 Evolution - Discussion of Sewall Wright Paper
Oct 07 Evolution - Discussion of Sewall Wright Paper
Oct 09 FALL BREAK
Oct 14 Students pick a theoretical paper from Trends in Ecology and Evolution and lead discussion
Oct 16 Students pick a theoretical paper from Trends in Ecology and Evolution and lead discussion
Oct 21 Interference and Exploitation Competition
Oct 23 Discussion of Competition Papers
Oct 28 Community Structure: Disturbance
Oct 30 Discussion of Disturbance Papers
Nov 04 Election Day Break
Nov 06 Null Community Models and Ecological Drift - Discussion of Hubbell Chapter 4
Nov 11 Metapopulations and Metacommunities - Discussion of Hubbell Chapter 7
Nov 13 Reconciling Dispersal and Niche Models - Discussion of Hubbell Chapter 10
Nov 18 Biogeographic Theory - Niche Envelope Models
Nov 20 Ecosystem Models
Nov 25 Presentation of Final Papers
Nov 27 Thanksgiving Break
Dec 02 Presentation of Final Papers
Dec 04 Presentation of Final Papers

Dec 08, 2 PM Project Papers Due

Our object is to provide students with a common framework of ecological and evolutionary theory that they can apply to their own research projects. The final papers are to explore the use of ecological theory in the students' own research area.

Grading: 50% discussions, 25% presentation of project, 25% paper