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Marine Ecology

The course on marine ecology presents advanced topics on the ecology of marine biodiversity and ecosystems, focusing on processes and patterns that are specific to the marine environment, beyond basic ecology concepts taught at undergraduate level. It provides the student with a general overview on the ecology and evolution of biodiversity of marine organisms throughout the tree of life.

Students will learn the many unique and distinct components of marine biodiversity, their life histories and evolutionary context. The course will highlight the constraints that are particular to life in a marine environment, with their consequences in the pelagic/benthic oceanic domain and on the seashore. In marine population ecology students will train the applications and interpretation of concepts and tools to understand population variability in marine systems, persistence, dispersal and connectivity between populations. In marine community ecology students will study how relationships between species can regulate populations and shape communities, from pathogen/host to predator/prey, competitive and symbiotic interactions between different components of marine biodiversity.

The study of processes mediating marine species interactions will comprise habitat engineering, resource-dependent effects, chemical interactions. The diversity of food web structures in the oceans and the challenges that are specific to marine systems will be presented and discussed. The students will be trained in how to measure biodiversity aiming to compare communities in various habitats, and they will be introduced into population dynamics.