Population Ecology Laboratory Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation

INTRODUCTION TO WILDLIFE POPULATION ECOLOGY (WIS4501)

 

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COURSE OBJECTIVES:

 

This course is designed to expose students to concepts and models in population ecology, and their application to conservation and management of wildlife populations. By the end of the semester, students will:


•Have a thorough understanding of various models of population dynamics;
•Become familiar with the application of concepts and models in population ecology to conservation and management of wildlife populations; and
•Become familiar with concepts and models of species interaction, and mechanisms of population regulation and population cycles.

 

GRADING:

 

Grading will be based on:

 

Mid-term exam 30%
Homework problems 25%
In-classes quizzes 10%
Final exam (cumulative) 35%
Total 100%

 


Final course grades will be assigned as follows: 90-100% = A, 85-89% = B+, 80-84% = B, 75-79% = C+, 70-74% = C, 65 - 69% = D+, 60-64 = D, and <60% = E.

 

 

COURSE OUTLINE

PART I. INTRODUCTION

 

1. Population ecology: what and why?
2. Population ecology as science

 

PART II. POPULATION GROWTH I: UNSTRUCTURED MODELS

 

1. Models in population ecology
2. BIDE model
3. Exponential population growth models
4. Density dependence
5. Logistic population growth models

 

PART III. POPULATION GROWTH II: STRUCTURED MODELS

 

1. Life tables: construction and analysis
        • Age structure: why it matters
        • Methods of compiling life tables/fecundity tables
        • Life table analysis (generation times, net reproductive rates, population growth rates etc.)

2. Age- and stage-structured matrix population models
        • Age-structured (Leslie) matrix models
        • Matrix algebra review
        •Population projection, population growth rate, stable age distribution & reproductive values
        • Sensitivity/elasticity analysis
        • Life-cycle graphs and stage-structured models
        • Analysis of stage-structured models
        • Model modification and limitations

PART IV. METAPOPULATION DYNAMICS

 

1. Spatial structure of populations; why space matters
2. Metapopulations and extinction risk
3. Models of metapopulation dynamics
        • Classic metapopulation (Levin’s) model
        • Spatially realistic metapopulation theory
        • Overview of incidence function model (IFM) and stochastic patch occupancy model (SPOM)

 

PART V. POPULATION VIABILITY ANALYSIS (PVA)

 

1. Introduction to PVA: what, why and how?
2. Components of PVA
3. Viability of PVA: evaluating PVA results
4. Overview of PVA models

 

PART VI. POPULATION REGULATION

 

1. Density-dependence revisited
2. Hypotheses of population regulation
3. Population regulation vs. population limitation

 

PART VII. POPULATION CYCLES

 

1. What are population cycles?
2. Hypotheses of population cycles
3. Empirical evidence

 

PART VIII. SPECIES INTERACTIONS

 

1. Competition
        Nature of competition
        Lotka-Volterra competition model

2. Predation
         Nature of predation
        Lotka-Volterra predation model

3. Dynamics of infectious diseases
        SIR model

PART IX. LIFE-HISTORY

 

1. Life-history traits
2. r-K selection and bet-hedging
3. Life history trade-offs
4. Evolution of life-history traits
5. Cole’s dilemma: semelparity or iteroparity?


 

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