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Introduction to Ecology

  • Description
  • Outcome
  • Certification
  • The free online course in Introduction to Ecology provides detailed information about the different types of ecosystems, terrestrial and aquatic biomes, and the effects of climate change on biodiversity. The course first introduces you to the scope of ecology and biogeography with a focus on the distribution of plant and animal species and their impact on the terrestrial environment. You will learn how to differentiate between ecological patterns and processes at different scales and levels of biological organisation (population, community and ecosystem). Next, you will learn to identify and recognize the distinguishing characteristics of terrestrial and aquatic biomes. You will gain an understanding of what controls animal and plant distribution, abundance and biodiversity. You will learn how plants and animals absorb energy and nutrients from the ecosystem around them as well as how species interact with each other. You will learn about the biology of various habitats from marine and freshwater to terrestrial habitats and the soil. Finally, you are introduced to climate and the effects of global climate change where you will learn about the interaction between humans, animals and the environment with specific reference to the effects of modern technological advances. You will gain an understanding of the role ecology plays in conservation, wetland and natural resource management, forestry, agriculture and fisheries, as well as the climatological challenges faced by society. The course will be ideal for professionals working in the area of biology, ecology or environmental science, for students who wish to pursue a career in the sciences, or for those who simply want to learn more about building a sustainable existence on this planet. This course will also be of great interest to anyone who would like to learn more about ecological diversity and the distribution of organisms in the global ecosystem around them or those who are concerned about their impact on the environment.

  • After completing this course you will be able to:
    - Define ecology and the four levels of ecological research;
    - Recognize the relationship between components of the environment;
    - Recognize distinguishing characteristics of each of the major terrestrial biomes;
    - Compare and contrast the characteristics of the ocean zones;
    - Define global climate change;
    - Describe three natural factors affecting long-term global climate;
    - List two or more greenhouse gases and describe their role in the greenhouse effect.

  • All Alison courses are free to study. To successfully complete a course you must score 80% or higher in each course assessments. Upon successful completion of a course, you can choose to make your achievement formal by purchasing an official Alison Diploma, Certificate or PDF.

    Having an official Alison document is a great way to share your success. Plus it’s:

    • Ideal for including in CVs, job applications and portfolios
    • An indication of your ability to learn and achieve high results
    • An incentive to continue to empower yourself through learning
    • A tangible way of supporting the Alison mission to empower people everywhere through education.

Introduction to Ecology
  • Free

  • 2-3 Hours

  • OpenStax College

  • Assessment

  • Certification

  • 50 Pts

Modules List( 4 )
  • Introduction to Ecology Course Resource Documents View Resource
  • Module
    Introduction to Ecology and Biogeography
    • This module covers the four levels of biological organization-organismal, population, community, and ecosystem. The main factors in relation to study of the interactions of living things with their environment are also covered. Other factors covered include biogeography, the study of the geographic distribution of living things and the abiotic factors that affect their distribution.
    • Learning Outcomes
    • The Scope of Ecology
    • Biogeography and Diversity
    • Population Growth and Extinction Risk
    • Lesson Summary
  • Module 2: Introduction to Terrestrial and Aquatic Biomes
    • In this module the main focus is on the eight major terrestrial biomes: tropical wet forests, savannas, subtropical deserts, chaparral, temperate grasslands, temperate forests, boreal forests, and Arctic tundra and aquatic ecosystems which include both saltwater and freshwater biomes. The module explains the various characteristics of each biome as well as the different kinds of organisms which are adapted to the conditions found in each.
    • Learning Outcomes
    • Characteristics of Terrestrial Biomes
    • Characteristics of Aquatic Biomes
    • Ecosystem Decline
    • Lesson Summary
  • Module 3: The Effects of Global Climate Change
    • Module 3 covers both the natural causes of changes in climate, and their effects and current modern-day climate change and its association with the increased melting of glaciers and polar ice sheets, resulting in an increase in sea level. The effect of industrialization, destructive harvesting, overfishing and how this affects plant and animal systems is also covered.
    • Learning Outcomes
    • Climate Change
    • Ecology and the Environment
    • Biodiversity and Climate Change
    • Lesson Summary
  • Module 4: Introduction to Ecology Assessment
    • You must score 80% or more to pass this assessment.
    • Introduction to Ecology Assessment
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