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Module Aim: To understand how biotic and abiotic factors together govern the ecology of the Earth’s habitats, impacting on the composition, productivity, population biology and biodiversity of ecosystems.
Topics covered. The module is divided into two sections [see module schedule, below]. Section 1 (Communities and Change) includes: Soil ecology; The interaction of climate and soil in the formation of the 10 principal global biomes; Succession in Vegetation: patterns, mechanisms and examples from Forests, Peatland and Sand Dunes. Section 2 (Biotic Interactions) includes: Lotka-Volterra modelling of population interactions; Intra-specific competition within species; Inter-specific competition between species; Predatory-Prey relationships; Density-dependent and Density-Independent selection mechanisms; Gradients and patterns of global species diversity. Soil ecology and competition is covered in a lab practical, while succession and habitat analysis is covered in a weekend field course.