BIOL 510 (Fall)

Advances in Community Ecology

(given in alternate years; offered in 2019-2020)

 A. Gonzalez
(514) 398-6444
3 credits (2-1-6)
BIOL 308 or GEOG 350 or permission of instructor
“Ecology is the science of communities. A study of the relation of a single   species to the environment conceived without reference to communities and, in the end, unrelated to the natural phenomena of its habitat and community associations is not properly included in the field of ecology” (Shelford 1929).

We will cover the central concepts in community ecology organized around three major themes:
1. Maintenance of biodiversity at local and regional scales
2. Historical and phylogenetic perspectives
3. Ecological networks: food webs, mutualisms and metacommunities
4. The links between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning

Particular emphasis will be placed on the principal theories, their historical development, and the observational and experimental support for them. By the end of the course the student will have a broad appreciation of current knowledge in community ecology.
Although not an official course text, selected chapters from R. E. Ricklefs and D. Schluter (1993) Species Diversity in Ecological Communities (Chicago Press) will be read. Readings from the primary literature will be provided throughout to address topics not covered by the text.
Weekly, 1.5-hour lecture and discussion and 1.5-hour seminar for paper discussion.

Class participation, 3 short essay assignments, 1 oral presentation.

McGill University values academic integrity. Therefore all students must understand the meaning and consequences of cheating, plagiarism and other academic offences under the Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures (see for more information).

Last update: March 25, 2019