Coordinator: Dr H. Slabbekoorn
Understanding the emergence and maintenance of the biodiversity on earth is of prime interest to a wide audience of policy makers, legislators, conservationists, as well as dedicated nature lovers. Biodiversity is strongly linked to the underlying genetic diversity and highly dependent on processes at higher ecological levels. Although selection operates at the level of the individual, processes at the level of population dynamics, community ecology, and ecosystem functioning, play a critical role in shaping the phenotypic diversity within and between species. This course will give students an extensive introduction into the understanding of processes at multiple levels in how they relate to individual phenotypes and in what way they affect, for example, how animals sound and how plants smell. The emphasis will be on cross-level relationships and topics can include for example: gene-environment interactions, multi-trophic dependencies, gene-culture co-evolution, sexual conflict, animal personalities, and ecological speciation. Apart from being of general interest for students of Behaviour, Ecology, and Evolution, the course provides an excellent basis for MSc-research projects in IBL-research groups on behavioural biology, plant ecology, and integrative zoology.
The aim of this course is to provide students with a comprehensive overview of the scientific fields of Behaviour and Ecology and show them the major theoretical paradigms. They will be trained in reading scientific papers, associating across overlapping disciplines, and discussing and speculating beyond the current state of the art.
Students should be able to develop the capacity of integrating current insights into novel ideas and if successful they will be able to generate an innovative and defendable outline for a research proposal (within a collaborative group of supervised students). By the end of the course, students should be well aware of the essential components of the scientific process and they may be tickled to contribute to scientific progress. This course is not exclusively targeting but certainly a must for all MSc-students with serious aspirations for an academic career through a PhD-project at our university or elsewhere.
Mode of instruction
This course is based on lectures, discussions, assignments, and self study, using primary literature. There will be special attention for so-called break-through papers and how they change a particular field of research. Teachers from the various research groups will be involved. The time schedule involves a limited number of fixed contact hours with teachers, every day one or more hours, from Monday 9.00 until Friday 17.00. The course will require attention and presence for close to 8 hours per day (together with the time spent on self study and student interactions independent of teachers).
Testing will be done by various assignments (participation in discussions, achievements in essay and/or oral presentation).
Blackboard will be used for course information.
Reviews and research articles.
Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for more information on how to apply.