Course Title: 
Community Ecology
Course Number: 
IB 594
Community Ecology is a graduate course co–taught by Drs.Sally Hacker and Bruce Menge and focuses on conceptual issues in community ecology. After a survey of important patterns in communities, we consider the biological and physical processes and conditions which produce pattern. Issues considered include species diversity gradients, food web structure, community regulation, indirect and direct effects, spatial complexity, trophic cascades, top-down/bottom-up dynamics, context dependence, functional role of biodiversity, meta-communities, meta-ecosystems, and community stability. The approach involves considering an issue, examining the theory and surveying alternative explanations that explain patterns of interest, and evaluating explanatory hypotheses using relevant empirical information. Examples are taken from all major habitats (terrestrial, freshwater, marine), although the emphasis is on the concepts, not the system. The topics are presented using lectures, research talks by ecology practitioners, and student led discussions on research articles.