Detailed Syllabus


Lecture Topic

Activities, discussion leader, and required readings


August 16

Introduction to course; Population growth and regulation  (PPT)

General syllabus

Reading the literature (pdf)

Review general ecology text on population growth and density-dependence or read Ch1&2 of Gotelli

August 18

Pop growth, continued

Homework 1 (due Monday, 5pm)

Same as above

August 23

Demographic and environmental stochasticity and demographic heterogeneity (PPT);


go over HW 1;

Class discussion:

Owens and Bennett (2000); Independent Contrasts (PPT)

same as above

A useful resource:

Global Population Dynamics Database (GPDD)

August 25

Stage-structured dynamics (PPT)

HW 2 (PDF): Due by 5pm Monday

August 30

Applications: Stage-structure Part II (PPT)

go over HW 2;

Class discussion:

Kramer and Drake (2010)

Gotelli: Ch 4; and

Mittelbach: Ch12 (just pages 251-260)

September 1

Metapopulations  (PPT)

Class discussion -- Caitlin and Keysa

Vonesh and de la Cruz (2002)


See previous class

September 6

Metapopulations (cont.)

go over HW 3

see above

September 08

None - we spent the entire time on discussion

Class discussion -- Ed (lead) and Claire

Peres et al. 2003 (PDF)

There is no HW this week

Just Peres et al.

September 13

Habitat quality, Cryptic density-dependence, Ideal Free Distribution  (PPT)

Foraging theory  (PPT)

Stephens and Krebs 1986 - Ch 2 (PDF)
Charnov 1976 (PDF)
Mittelbach 2012 - Ch 6 (PDF)
Ancillary readings:

Mittelbach 1981 (PDF)
Osenberg and Mittelbach 1989 (PDF)
Shima and Osenberg 2003 (PDF)

September 15

Foraging theory  (continued)

Demographic compensation (Villellas et al.)  (PPT)

Class discussion -- Kelly (lead) and David

Hanski and Singer 2001 (PDF)


Discussion paper

Villellas et al. 2015 (PDF)

A useful resource:

Matrix Database (COM(P)ADRE)

September 20

Evolution (PPT)

go over HW

None; but you should review basics from other resources.

September 22

Competition / Lotka-Volterra  (PPT)

Class discussion -- Kaylee (lead) and Josh

Johnston & Post 2009 (PDF)


Gotelli - Ch 5 (PDF) and/or Mittelbach - Ch 7 (PDF)

September 27

 Resource-based competition  (PPT)

go over HW


Tilman 1982 - Ch 3 & 4 (PDF); and/or Mittelbach 2012 - Ch 7 (PDF)

Ancillary Reading:  Tilman 1977 (PDF)

September 29

Competition Experiments (PPT, PDF) -- cancelled due to prolonged discussion

Class discussion -- Craig (lead) and Mr. Broadway

Martorell & Freckleton 2014 (PDF)

go over HW6

Mittelbach - Ch 8 (PDF)

October 4

Exam 1




October 6

Exam debrief

Class discussion -- Josh (lead) and Jeff

Miller 1994 (PDF)

No HW this week


October 11

Predator-prey dynamics (PPT, PDF)

Finish exam debrief

Class discussion -- Mr. Broadway (lead) and Kelsey T.

Tilman 1994 (PDF)

Mittelbach 2012 - ch 5 (PDF)

Ancillary reading: 

Gotelli - Ch 6 (PDF)

October 13

Predator-prey (data, additional factors) (PPT, PDF)

Class discussion -- David (lead) and Caitlin

Arditi & Saiah 1992 (PDF) -- please also skim Arditi et al. 1991


Same as above

October 18

Coexistence mechanisms  (PPT, PDF)

go over HW

Mittelbach 2012 (Ch 14: pages 289-304) (PDF)

Ancillary reading:

McPeek 2012 (PDF)

Tilman 1982 - Ch 5 (PDF)

Chesson 2000 (PDF)

Chesson 2008 (PDF)

October 20

Coexistence (continued)

Class discussion -- Matthew (lead) and Alex

Mallon et al 2015 (PDF)


See above

October 25

Disease ecology (PPT, PDF)

Class discussion -- Jeff (lead) and Kaylee

Davis et al. 2010 (PDF)

go over HW

Required: Drake chapter (PDF)

October 27

Indirect effects and higher order interactions (PPT, PDF)

Class discussion -- Keysa (lead) and Kelsey S.

Mordecai et al. 2016 (PDF)


Mittelbach (pp 142-144 in Ch7; Ch 10; 11: PDF)

Ancillary reading:

Wootton 1994 (PDF)

November 01

HSS, Oksanen, trophic cascades (PPT, PDF)


go over HW

Mittelbach - Ch 11 (PDF)

Ancillary reading:

Hairston et al 1960 (PDF)

Oksanen et al. 1981 (PDF)

Osenberg and Mittelbach 1996 (PDF)

November 03

Alternative stable states, tipping points, and phase shifts (PPT, PDF)

Class discussion -- Claire (lead) and Kelly

Johnson and Hoverman 2012 (PDF)


Mittelbach - Ch 14 (PDF)

Ancillary reading:

Schefer and Carpenter 2003 (PDF)

November 08

Biodiversity and ecosystem function  (PPT, PDF)

Class discussion -- Kelsey S. (lead) and Haley

Ellner and Becks 2011 (PDF)

go over HW

Mittelbach - Ch 2 & 3 (PDF)

November 10

Communities in space  (PPT, PDF)

Class discussion -- Kelsey T. (lead) and Ed

Frund et al 2013 (PDF)

HW11 & HW12

Mittelbach - Ch 13 (PDF)

November 15

Metabolic Theory of Ecology

Presentations of the "most interesting papers"  (PPT)

Brown et al. 2004 - MacArthur Address (PDF)


Brown et al. 2004 - Special Feature (responses to above paper) (PDF)

November 17

Review for Exam2: discussion of student-defined problems

Class discussion -- Alex (lead) and Matthew

Pawar et al 2012 (PDF)

None (other than discussion paper)

Thanksgiving holiday

November 29

Exam 2



December 01

go over Exam 2; class feedback



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