Biology (BIOL) 345
Ecology (Revision 6)
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BIOL 345 lab exemption
Area of Study: Science
Faculty: Faculty of Science & Technology
BIOL 345 is not available for challenge.
Ecology, as a branch of biology, is the study of the interactions of organisms with their environments. This course covers experimentation and models, relationships between organisms and their abiotic environments, population ecology and various symbiotic relationships, community ecology, ecosystem energetics and biogeochemical cycles, as well as aquatic and terrestrial biomes.
- Chapter 1: The Nature of Ecology
Part 1: The Physical Environment
- Chapter 2: Climate
- Chapter 3: The Aquatic Environment
- Chapter 4: The Terrestrial Environment
Part 2: The Organism and Its Environment
- Chapter 5: Adaptation and Natural Selection
- Chapter 6: Plant Adaptations to the Environment
- Chapter 7: Animal Adaptations to the Environment
Part 3: Populations
- Chapter 8: Properties of Populations
- Chapter 9: Population Growth
- Chapter 10: Life History
- Chapter 11: Intraspecific Population Regulation
Part 4: Species Interactions
- Chapter 12: Species Interactions, Population Dynamics, and Natural Selection
- Chapter 13: Interspecific Competition
- Chapter 14: Predation
- Chapter 15: Parasitism and Mutualism
Part 5: Community Ecology
- Chapter 16: Community Structure
- Chapter 17: Factors Influencing the Structure of Communities
- Chapter 18: Community Dynamics
- Chapter 19: Landscape Dynamics
Part 6: Ecosystem Ecology
- Chapter 20: Ecosystem Energetics
- Chapter 21: Decomposition and Nutrient Cycling
- Chapter 22: Biogeochemical Cycles
Part 7: Ecological Biogeography
- Chapter 23: Terrestrial Ecosystems
- Chapter 24: Aquatic Ecosystems
- Chapter 25: Coastal and Wetland Ecosystems
- Chapter 26: Large-Scale Patterns of Biological Diversity
- Chapter 27: The Ecology of Climate Change
Upon completion of BIOL 345, you will be able to
- explain how the physical environment (water, climate, soils, light and nutrients) shapes ecological processes.
- describe the fundamental role of plant and animal adaptations for ecology.
- define and apply the population concept when describing population growth and life history.
- describe the concepts of competition, predation, parasitism and mutualism in the context of community ecology.
- define, with examples, major aspects of both community structure and community dynamics.
- explain the concept of landscapes in ecology.
- describe major aspects of ecosystem ecology, including energetics, decomposition and biogeochemical cycles.
- describe the earth’s major aquatic and terrestrial biomes.
- explain the major concepts of climate change ecology.
To receive credit for BIOL 345, you must obtain a course composite grade of at least D (50 percent) as well as 50 percent on the examination, and 50 percent on the lab assignment. The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:
(following four-day Field Ecology Workshop)
The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.
To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.
Smith, T. M. and Smith, R. L. 2015. Elements of Ecology, 9th ed. San Francisco: Pearson Education. (eText)
A print version of the eText may be available for purchase from the publisher through a direct-to-student link provided on the course website; you can also acquire the textbook on your own if you wish.
Special Course Features
The first three home labs require some materials that you must supply. If you do not own these materials already, these materials should cost less than $30. The assignments and examination must be completed within your registration period (normally six months). However, the Field Ecology Workshop can be done up to 14 months after your initial registration. The Field Ecology Workshop (FEW) is compulsory. It consists of four days of field and laboratory work. It will be held in the summer at Athabasca University's headquarters in Athabasca, Alberta.
Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.
Opened in Revision 5, February 24, 2020.
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