After this course you
- can integrate population genetics and demography in order to predict population resilience and viability under different environmental scenarios.
- understand which processes contribute to adaptation in a changing environment in an eco-evolutionary context.
- understand and apply the basic micro-evolutionary principles on processes at the population level.
- can interpret the biological meaning of molecular population data for short and long term population dynamics
- can integrate population genetics, ecology and evolutionary theory and translate it into research projects
- can disseminate scientific research in oral and written form
- understand and apply the basic methodology of population projection models (in particular matrix models).
- can interpret the biological meaning of population model output variables, and analyze their coherence.
- have a good overview of the applications of population projection models, i.e. fundamental questions in ecological research and the problems in applied research, that may be addressed by these models.
Increasingly populations of wild plants and animals are under threat. It is difficult to predict to what extent wild populations can adapt to altered selection pressures in the face of human-induced global change. Viability of populations depends on population dynamics, the potential of populations to adapt to new conditions and on molecular population characteristics. These different processes are highly integrated and determine in concert whether populations can adapt to the constantly changing conditions or will go extinct. This course, which is positioned on the interface of different scientific disciplines will give an integrated picture of mechanisms and process contributing to population viability by dealing with the different aspects, both in theory and in hands-on greenhouse, lab and computer projects.
Understanding the mechanisms regulating population dynamics from an evolutionary and demographic perspective is essential for predicting naturally occurring but also man-made changes in population composition and stability on the short and long term. Recent developments in molecular biology and data-analyses provided researchers with new tools which are applied in fields ranging from evolutionary ecology to conservation genetics. The course will build on and deepen previously acquired knowledge about population dynamics and quantitative genetics and the basic processes determining population development. This knowledge will be expanded and supplemented with demographic modelling in the context of small populations.
Active processing of primary literature
The grade will be determined based on a number of individual and group assignments
To pass the course all individual components have to achieve a minimum grade of 5.0, with the final composite grade at least 5.5
- written exam (30%)
- written extended report (45%)
- assignments practical components (10%)
- written and oral assignment integration workshop (15%)
IMPORTANT: For organizational reasons (set up for practical work) students should enroll no later than 4 weeks before the onset of the course. The course will be given in English. For all course components (except lectures) attendance is compulsory. Students not taking part in the practical components, please contact course coordinator.