Ecology, Ecosystems and Biodiversity

Home/ Ecology, Ecosystems and Biodiversity
Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSHE2ED1014

To which offered: (I/ III/ V) I semester

Course Title: Ecology, Ecosystems and Biodiversity

Credits: 4 Credits

Course Code (new): SHE2ED101

Type of Course: Compulsory yes Cohort MAED

Course Coordinator and Team: Dr Suresh Babu (CC)

Email of course coordinator: suresh[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in

Pre-requisites: None


This course is an introduction to the scientific principles that govern the natural world around us and their applications to contemporary ecological concerns. The course will be a primer on basic ecological theory relating to the hierarchical organization of biological complexity as it is viewed in ecology – from individuals to ecosystems and beyond.

The contents would introduce students to processes that occur at populations, community and ecosystem levels. A brief section on Evolutionary Biology would produce the necessary anchorage for the central ecological principle discussed in the course.

The course will be taught in modules of 4 hours each week. The field skills module would be transacted at a field location with an opportunity to understand, estimate and measure ecological variables in the real-life conditions.

Learning Objectives:

The course will build a working knowledge of ecological concepts and terminology that are necessary to understand the contemporary ecological challenges. The students will also learn to apply theory to environmental/ecological problem solving. The field skills module will teach them to measure ecological variables that are relevant to natural resource management and human ecology.

Course Outcomes:

  • Understanding of core ecological concepts such as biochemical basis of living, Evolutionaty theory, Populations, Communities, Ecosystems and Global Biogeography
  • Ability to effectively communicate through written material, graphs and oral presentations, to explain complex ecological phenomena, across and within learner groups
  • Ability to recognize ecological underpinnings and patterns in natural phenomena, and apply the conceptual apparatus to the real world scenarios with a view to addressing issues and providing solutions.
  • Ability to analyze ecological data, evidences and representations and ability to comment/draw independent conclusions supported by lines of reasoning and evidence
  • Ability to define problems, formulate hypotheses, test hypotheses, analyse, interpret and draw conclusions from data, establish hypotheses, predict cause-and-effect relationships
  • Ability to conduct research with self awareness, reflexivity and interpret scientific findings with societal contexts
  • Ability to understand and use technology in a variety of situations, ranging from retrieving data from repositories, to collecting data from the field using instrumentation,
  • Ability to analyze data using appropriate custom softwares, and visualizing and communicating information using variety of media
  • Ability to do an independent ecological study, starting from a study design, to survey, to compilation and analysis of data and take a project to its logical conclusion.
  • Ability to work in multicultural work groups, to accomplish complex tasks involving, theoretical, field based and lab based projects.
  • Ability to discern and avoid unethical behaviour such as fabrication, falsification or misrepresentation of dataand avoid plagiarism in any form
  • Ability to appreciatebiodiversity conservation challenges and environmental sustainability issues
  • Ability to adapt to a variety of learning situations ranging from, theoretical, lab based and field based projects, that involve multiple learning contexts.

Course Content:

The Coursework is divided into broadly Five Sections, further divided in to 12 Modules.

The sections are: (i) Basic Evolutionary Theory, (ii) Organismal and Population Ecology, (iii) Community Ecology, Dynamics & Species Interactions, (iv) Ecosystem Ecology and (v) Field Biology and Projects

S. No.



Introduction to Ecology, Ecosystems and Biodiversity


Basics of Evolutionary Biology


Population Ecology





Basics of Community Ecology


Basics of Community Dynamics


Basics of Community Dynamics: Ecological Succession


Food Webs and Food Chains


Ecosystems of the World


Ecology & Field Biology


Indicative Reading List:

  • Begon, M., Townsend, C. R., & Harper, J. L. (2006). Ecology: From Individuals to Ecosystems. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers.
  • Diamond, J., & Case, T. J. (Eds.) (1986). Community Ecology. New York: Harper and Row Publishers, Inc.
  • Futuyma, D. J. (2009). Evolution (2nd ed.). Sinauer Associates Inc.
  • Krebs, C. J. (1999). Ecological Methodology (2nd ed.). Harlow, England: Addison Wesley Longman, Inc.
  • Krebs, C. J. (2008). The Ecological Worldview. CSIRO Publishing/ CABI Publishing.
  • Krebs, C. J. (2009). Ecology: The Experimental Analysis of Distribution and Abundance (6th ed.). New York: Harper & Row.
  • Ricklefs, R.E. & Miller, G. (2000).Ecology(4th ed.). W.H. Freeman & Co.
  • Townsend, C. R., Begon, M., & Harper, J. L. (2008). Essentials of Ecology (3rd ed.). Blackwell Publishing.


Course evaluation will be done through a combination of tests/quizzes, writing assignments, field projects and student presentations. In All there will be Four Assessment situations- consisting of a short quiz, two tests, and a field based project (10, 20, 30, 40%) respectively.