Detailed Syllabus


Lecture Topic

Activities, discussion leader, and required readings


August 15

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 20

Pop growth, continued

Homework 1 (Ricker analysis; due Thursday, 9am)

Same as above

August 22

Demographic and environmental stochasticity and demographic heterogeneity (PPT);


go over HW1

same as above

A useful resource:

Global Population Dynamics Database (GPDD)

August 27

Stage-structured dynamics (PPT)

HW2 (Proj matrix)

Class discussion: (led by Craig)

Jarvis et al  (2016); for this an all future readings, please email responses to these prompts by 915am the day of discussion:

1. What is the primary take-home message of the paper?

2. What is one issue/approach/question/confusion raised in the paper that you found "unsatisfying" or with which you disagreed?

3. Explain your answer to #2.

4. Identify one insight from the paper that changed your perspective about ecology?

August 29

Applications: Stage-structure Part II (PPT)

go over HW2

Gotelli: Ch 4

Mittelbach and McGill - Ch 12 (pp 249-257)

September 03

Metapopulations  (PPT)

Class discussion -- Daniel (Laura & Shishir)

Vonesh and de la Cruz (2002)

HW3 (metapop)

See previous class

A useful resource:

Matrix Database (COM(P)ADRE)

September 05

Metapopulations (cont.)

go over HW3

see above

September 10

Foraging theory  (PPT)

Class discussion -- Michael (Doreen & Nate)

Peres et al. 2003 (PDF)

HW4 (source-sink & OFT)


Stephens and Krebs 1986 - Ch 2 (PDF)
Charnov 1976 (PDF)
Mittelbach and McGill - Ch 6

Ancillary readings:

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

September 12

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

go over HW4

Shima and Osenberg 2003 (PDF)

September 17 - Osenberg at workshop in Montpellier

Prepare and help each other study for Exam 1

Work together


September 19

Exam 1 (take it; grade it)



September 24

Evolution (PPT)

Class discussion -- Danielle (Nate & Supraja)

Hanski and Singer 2001 (PDF)

HW5 (pop gen)

None; but you should review basics from other resources.

September 26

Competition / Lotka-Volterra  (PPT)

go over HW5

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

October 01

Resource-based competition  (PPT)

Class discussion -- Maria (Melanie & Laura)

Johnston & Post 2009 (PDF)


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

Ancillary Reading: 

Tilman 1977 (PDF)

October 03

Competition Experiments (PPT) 


go over HW6


October 08

Predator-prey dynamics (PPT)

Class discussion -- Nate (Shishir & Doreen)

Miller 1994 (PDF)

HW7 (pred-prey & phase planes)

Mittelbach and McGill - Ch 5

Ancillary reading: 

Gotelli - Ch 6 (PDF)


October 10

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

go over HW7

same as above

October 15

Coexistence mechanisms (PPT)


Class discussion -- Supraja (Michael & Daniel)

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

HW8 (time-scale)

Mittelbach and McGill (Ch 8 (all) & 15 (pp 287-297)

Ancillary reading:

McPeek 2012 (PDF)

Tilman 1982 - Ch 5 (PDF)

Chesson 2000 (PDF)

Chesson 2008 (PDF)


October 17

Coexistence (continued)

go over HW8

same as above

October 22

Disease ecology (PPT)

Class discussion -- Shishir (Maria & Danielle)

Tilman 1994 (PDF)

Drake chapter (PDF)

October 24

Exam 2 (take it; grade it)



October 29

Indirect effects and higher order interactions (PPT)

Class discussion -- Melanie (Supraja & Michael)

Davis et al. 2010 (PDF)


Mittelbach and McGill (pp 136-138; Ch 10 & 11)

Ancillary reading:

Wootton 1994 (PDF)

October 31

HSS, Oksanen, trophic cascades (PPT)

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 05

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

Class discussion -- Laura (Danielle & Melanie)

Johnson and Hoverman 2012 (PDF)

HW10 (1pred-2prey dynamics)

Mittelbach - Ch 14 (PDF)

Ancillary reading:

Scheffer and Carpenter 2003 (PDF)

November 07

Biodiversity and ecosystem function  (PPT)

go over HW10

Mittelbach - Ch 2 & 3 (PDF)

November 12

Communities in space  (PPT)

HW11 (cool papers) & HW12 (exam questions)

Mittelbach - Ch 13 (PDF)

November 14

Metabolic Theory of Ecology (PPT)

Class discussion -- Doreen (Daniel & Maria)

Frund et al 2013 (PDF)

Brown et al. 2004 - MacArthur Address (PDF)


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

November 19


Presentations of the "most interesting papers"  (HW11; PPT)


November 21


Review for Exam 3: discussion of student-defined problems (HW12)


November 26


No formal class meeting -- review for Exam 3 (Craig will be available in the morning; requires prior arrangement via email)


Thanksgiving holiday

December 03


Exam 3 (take it; review it)


Links from past courses:

Independent Contrasts (PPT)

The webpage below here is still being updated....