Ecology is the study of species interactions. This broad umbrella covers levels of biological organization from individuals to entire ecosystems. We will explore ecological concepts across these different levels of organization, and gain an understanding of general ecological concepts. The course will focus particularly on population and community ecology, which aims to understand the processes which govern the abundance and diversity of species. However, we will also be addressing trophic relationships (e.g., predators eating prey), disease (e.g., epidemic spread), and global environmental change etc.
Over the course, it is expected that students gain:
- a conceptual foundation of ecological principles, from individuals to ecosystems
- the ability to link existing ecological theory to natural systems
- an appreciation for ecological systems
- the ability to see the world differently
- information to make informed decisions
Meeting times & locations
Textbook(s) and/or readings
There is no required textbook, but readings will be provided from the primary literature or textbook chapters. One good resource that we will use repeatedly throughout the semester is Gotelli’s Primer of Ecology link to book
Below is the standardized LSU message regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.
LSU strongly encourages all students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated for COVID-19. Visit www.lsu.edu/roadmap/vaccines/ to learn how to get vaccinated on campus. Vaccination helps keep our campus community safe, helps protect those among us who are most vulnerable to COVID-19, and is our path back to more normal operations and the full college experience that our students deserve.
Syllabus Subject to Change
This syllabus represents my current plans and objectives. As the semester progresses, those plans may need to change to enhance the classes learning opportunity. Such changes, communicated clearly, are not unusual and should be expected. Syllabus and grades will be available on Moodle. But the most up-to-date and current syllabus will always be available on the course web page.
Important notes about updates to the syllabus, clarifications of assignments, or changes to the schedule will be communicated via LSU email. Please be sure to check your account regularly. If you have an email that you would like to send to the entire class, please communicate with the course instructor before doing so. Short questions should be addressed to me via email only after searching online and did not find an answer. I will try to respond to your email within 48 hours. More complicated questions should be addressed to me in person either after class or during office hours or appointment scheduled.
I will strive to create a learning environment for students that supports a diversity of thoughts, perspectives, and experiences, and honors your identities (including race, gender, class, sexuality, religion, nationality, ability, etc.). I welcome and appreciate 🤝 any constructive criticisms, suggestions, ideas, comments, and any other feedbacks for the course.
I encourage all of us to use welcoming and inclusive language, show respect toward others, and acknowledge our differences. As a student, you should also strive to respect and honor the diversity of your classmates. If something was said/done in class (by anyone) that made you feel uncomfortable, please talk to me about it.
Examples of behavior that contributes to a positive environment for our community include:
- Demonstrating empathy and kindness toward other people
- Being respectful of differing opinions, viewpoints, and experiences
- Giving and gracefully accepting constructive feedback
- Accepting responsibility and apologizing to those affected by our mistakes, and learning from the experience
- Focusing on what is best not just for us as individuals, but for the overall community
Examples of unacceptable behavior include:
- The use of sexualized language or imagery, and sexual attention or advances of any kind
- Trolling, insulting or derogatory comments, and personal or political attacks
- Public or private harassment
- Publishing others' private information, such as a physical or email address, without their explicit permission
- Other conduct which could reasonably be considered inappropriate in a professional setting
Students will be evaluated on their knowledge of course content and ability to communicate their results via exams (75%) and a final project (25%).
There will be four exams given in this class. Although there will be no comprehensive exam, each successive section will build upon material learned in earlier sections. Thus, on Exams 2-4, students will be expected to draw upon major points from previous material covered. Exams will consist of any combination of the following types of questions: fill in the blank, multiple choice, short answer, essay or problem solving. Each exam will be worth 100 points.
If you must miss an exam for a university-condoned reason, you must request prior approval from me to miss the exam (preferably by e-mail as soon as you know about the conflict). You must also receive approval in writing (via e-mail from me) prior to the exam to be excused from the exam. In an emergency situation, in which you cannot contact me ahead of time, you must contact me as soon as possible after the emergency ends (again, preferably by e-mail), to request to be excused from the exam.
As a rule, no make-up exams will be allowed.
You cannot drop the final exam!
If you take all four exams, then the lowest score will be dropped to calculate your final grade.
If you miss an exam with an excused absence, then the missed exam will be dropped to calculate your final grade.
Any unexcused absences from semester exams cannot be dropped, so each will count as a zero (0) toward your exams average (which for those who have one or more unexcused absences will be calculated from the average of all four exams).
If you must have more than one excused absence, then in consultation we will determine the fairest procedure to calculate your semester exam average.
Final project (25%)
More information about it can be found here.
LSU has a plus-minus grading scale. There will be no curve. If you have 92.7 points, you still have not gotten to 93, and have an A-.
I will not take attendance. However, much of the material presented will not be available if you aren’t in class to hear it. I will do my best to make lecture notes/recordings available, but this should not be viewed as a substitute for coming to class. If you miss a lecture, the best option for getting the needed material is to do the readings and reach out to a classmate.
This is a 3 credit-hour course. I expect you to spend at least 6 hours per week outside of class studying and working on material directly related to the course, i.e., carefully reading assignments, studying lecture notes, working on final projects, preparing for examinations, and etc.
Louisiana State University adopted the Commitment to Community in 1995 to set forth guidelines for student behavior both inside and outside of the classroom. The Commitment to Community charges students to maintain high standards of academic and personal integrity. All students are expected to read and be familiar with the LSU Code of Student Conduct and Commitment to Community, found online at https://www.lsu.edu/saa/. It is your responsibility as a student at LSU to know and understand the academic standards for our community.
Students who are suspected of violating the Code of Conduct will be referred to the office of Student Advocacy & Accountability. For undergraduate students, a first academic violation could result in a zero grade on the assignment or failing the class and disciplinary probation until graduation. For a second academic violation, the result could be suspension from LSU. For graduate students, suspension is the appropriate outcome for the first offense.
Further information is provided on the LSU website
Special needs statement
Our goal is to help you learn. Students who have any difficulty (either permanent or temporary) that might affect their ability to perform in class can contact us privately, or reach out to the LSU Disability Services staff.