FBL 103: Fundamentals of Ecology

Subject Ante and Title: FBL 103 Fundamentals of Ecology (11 Credits)

Prerequisite: None

Subject status:                       Core

Credits rating:                       11 credits

Time distribution:

Lectures:                     40 hours

Tutorials:                     25 hours

Practical:                     15 hours

Assignments:               10 hours

Independent study:     20 hours

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to

  1. Explain different key concepts and terminologies in ecology, physiology and climatology
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between ecology, physiology and climate, and the environmental conservation
  3. Apply the ecological, physiological and climatological knowledge to plan for environmental conservation
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of different vegetation types and ecological processes
  5. Demonstrate the interrelationships of plant and animal communities with the environment.

Contents: Ecology, its scope and importance. Ecological gradients - the role of environmental factors in the distribution of biotic communities. Introduction to quantitative study of plant and animal communities: sampling, attributes of biotic communities, characterization of biotic communities, succession, biogeography and ecological characteristics of major tropical formations. Classification and ecology of forest vegetation in tropical Africa with reference to Eastern Africa. The ecosystem concept and ecological processes: energy flow, production of organic matter and nutrient cycling. Introduction to the concept of forest biodiversity. Plant physiology: introduction to plant physiology. Plant mineral nutrition, plant water relations, absorption, conduction and translocation. Photosynthesis – the process of primary production, translocation of photosynthetic materials. Respiration, growth and growth substances.

Required readings

  1. Bush, M. B (2000). Ecology of a Changing Planet. 2nd Edition. Upper Saddle River New Jersey.
  2. Barbour, M. G., Burk, J.H. and Pitts, W.D. (1987). Terrestrial Plant Ecology. Second Edition. Benjamin Publishing Company Inc. California.
  3. Groom, M.J., Meffe G.K. and Carroll, C.R. (2006). Principles of Conservation Biology. Sinaner Associates, Sunderland 3rd Edition.

Recommended readings

  1. Neil, B., Hales, D.J., Underwood, E., Dinerstein, E., Olson, D., Schipper, I. J., and Newman, R. (2004). Terrestrial Eco-regions of Africa and Madagascar. A Conservation Assessment. Island Press Washington.
  2. Boyle, T.J.B., Boontawee, B. (1995). Measuring and Monitoring Biodiversity in Tropical and Temperate Forests. CIFOR Indonesia
  3. Krebs, C.J. (1994). Ecology: The Experimental Analysis of Distribution and Abundance. 4th Edition. Harper Collins College Publishers California.
  4. John, F. C. (1993). Biological Data Analysis. A Practical Approach. Reprinted 1994. IRL P Press