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Introduction to Ecology and Evolution

Learn about the history of ecology and the foundational knowledge on which the study of evolution is based..

Publisher: NPTEL
This course will take you right back to the beginning, to when ecology was being studied properly for the first time and you will be introduced to the scholars behind the documentation of these studies. Many theories will be discussed throughout this course, such as Malthusian theory which discusses the impact of population growth. Learners will learn about biodiversity and the levels of organisation in the natural world.
Introduction to Ecology and Evolution
  • Duration

    5-6 Hours
  • Students

  • Accreditation


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This course in ecology and evolution will discuss the basic principles of both disciplines and the theories that accompany them. The two subjects are irreversibly intertwined which you will see throughout the material. Eminent theorists will be studied such as Thomas Robert Malthus who put forward the Malthusian theory of population in 1798 and, of course, Charles Darwin who famously put forward the theory of natural selection in 1859. If we want to know anything about the natural world, we must first explore the past and see where the study of ecology began. Following on from a brief history lesson, the material will take you through an in-depth look at biodiversity and the importance of it in the world. Biodiversity lends itself to many different theories as well as principles that are still applied to the environment today.

In this course, you will discover the rationale behind the ‘emergent principle’, which says that in ecology the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. You will also be taught the evolutionary speed hypothesis, which states that warmer temperatures lead to shorter generation times and increased mutation rates. What are ‘mutation rates’ and what is their impact on different species? The answers to many key questions in the study of ecology and evolution like this are found within the course content, which is laid out clearly and precisely to help you gain deeper understanding and better knowledge. 

By completing this short introductory course, you will learn the basics behind ecology and evolution. After this, there are many other complementary courses to expand your knowledge and continue you on a journey of ecological and evolutionary discovery. There are several types people suited to completing this course including those with an interest in the natural world, students deciding on a discipline to specialise in, biologists refreshing themselves on the principles that govern their work and many more. Whether you are interested in pursuing a career in a scientific field or just wanting to know more about the hypotheses surrounding ecology, this course is the place to begin.

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