Ecology: Ecosystem Dynamics and Conservation

American Museum of Natural History

This course delves into the intricate world of ecology and ecosystem dynamics through a systems thinking lens. Using Mozambique's Gorongosa National Park as a case study, learners will investigate the complexities of managing ecosystems and the impact of anthropogenic disruption. Through engaging modules, participants will gain insights into conservation and the role of humans in ecosystem recovery.

  • Explore the scientific study of ecosystems and conservation challenges
  • Analyze the recovery potential of disrupted ecosystems
  • Understand population dynamics and species interactions
  • Examine the coexistence of species and ecological networks
  • Investigate the functioning and resilience of ecosystems

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Ecology: Ecosystem Dynamics and Conservation
Course Modules

This course comprises five modules that delve into the intricacies of ecology, ecosystem dynamics, and conservation. Explore topics such as ecosystem recovery, population dynamics, species coexistence, ecosystem functioning, and conservation strategies.

Can an Ecosystem Recover?

Module One introduces learners to the scientific study of ecosystems and focuses on Africa's savanna ecosystems. Participants will delve into the fundamentals of ecology, biodiversity, and systems thinking while examining the potential for ecosystem recovery from anthropogenic disruptions.

How Do We Study Populations?

Module Two delves into population dynamics and species interactions, utilizing a case study on modeling population growth and surveying ant diversity in Gorongosa National Park. Learners will gain insights into the study of populations and their ecological significance.

How Do Species Coexist?

Module Three explores the coexistence of species within ecosystems, emphasizing the role of keystone species, trophic cascades, and community structures. Participants will examine ecological networks and the interactions between species, gaining a comprehensive understanding of species coexistence.

How is an Ecosystem a System?

Module Four investigates the complexities of an ecosystem as a system, addressing climate stress, coastal food webs, and the flow of energy and matter within ecosystems. Learners will explore ecosystem services, functioning, and resilience, gaining insights into the systemic nature of ecosystems.

Can an Ecosystem Recover?

Module Five focuses on conservation and restoration strategies, highlighting the importance of ecology and biodiversity conservation in the Anthropocene era. Participants will explore biocultural approaches to conservation and consider the future of ecosystems, particularly Gorongosa National Park.

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