Introduction to Population Ecology


£164.00 Excluding VAT

16 hours
9 modules

This comprehensive self-study course on population ecology covers a range of fascinating subjects including communities, species interactions, predator-prey cycles, species distribution, population growth and regulation as well as niches and competition. This course is an ideal follow-on from our Introduction to Ecology or for anyone with some ecological knowledge. It is suitable for people seeking employment in ecological consultancy, research or conservation.

Course Outline

Module 1 – What is a population?

  • Populations definition and examples
  • Demography – describing populations
  • Population size and density and methods for measuring
  • Species distribution – uniform, random, clumped

Module 2 – Predicting population size

  • Life tables
  • Survivorship
  • Age-sex structure

Module 3 – Survival and reproduction in populations

  • Life history strategies
  • Parental care vs fecundity
  • Single vs multiple reproduction

Module 4 – Population growth

  • Density dependent and independent factors
  • Predator-prey cycles (also Module 9)
  • Exponential and logistic growth
  • Carrying capacity

Module 5 – Population regulation

  • Density dependent and independent factors
  • Population fluctuations
  • Population cycles

Module 6 – Interactions between populations

  • Ecological communities
  • Interspecific interactions – competition, predation, symbiosis, mutualism. Commensalism, parasitism

Module 7 – Ecological interactions

  • Consumer/heterotroph
  • Predators and prey
  • Carnivores and herbivores
  • Autotrophs
  • Primary, secondary, tertiary consumers
  • Competition

Module 8 – Niches and competition

  • What is a niche?
  • Interspecific competition
  • Competitive Exclusion Principle
  • Resource partitioning

Module 9 – Predator-prey cycles

  • Predators
  • Predator-prey population dynamics
  • Defence mechanisms
  • Course Summary

Course format: The 9 self-study modules you can read through the content in your own time. To further enhance your knowledge and learning experience there will be some directed reading for each module (it is essential you complete this to ensure you get the most out of the course). At the end there will be a short quiz and if you get over 70% you will receive a Certificate.

Time commitment: We advise students to allow 2-4 hours per module to complete each module and to read around the subject.

How to book: You can book on-line here. Once you have booked you will then be able to start the course straight away. If you’d like book a group or on behalf of another person please email us at and we’d be delighted to help you.

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