Students learn about the geography, climate, geology, soils, vegetation, fauna and typical uses and ecological responses of major rangelands of western North America. Students also learn to recognize the most common range plants on sight by scientific and common name for each of the major range ecosystems of western North America, and gain skill in using taxonomic keys for major plant groups.
Community ecology is the study of interactions within and among groups of species. Although to those that prefer to gloss over intricate details and the more interesting components of ecosystems, it may look like “a mess” (Lawton 1999), Community Ecology provides a critical link between populations and ecosystems. Additionally, to those that relish complexity in the world, Community Ecology is an exciting and rewarding field of research. This course will take students on a journey through (1) the major classical concepts and theories in Community Ecology, (2) the ways in which population dynamics can impact communities and how community dynamics can impact ecosystem processes and functioning, and (3) implementation of quantitative methods for conducting research that includes community ecology.