The marine ecology course presents advanced topics regarding the ecology of marine biodiversity and ecosystems. It focuses on processes and patterns that are specific to the marine environment, beyond the 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 about 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 learn how to apply and interpret the various concepts and tools used to understand population variability in marine systems, persistence, dispersal and connectivity between populations. Students will study how relationships between species can regulate populations and shape communities, from pathogen/host to predator/prey, as well as competitive and symbiotic interactions between different components of marine biodiversity.
The study of the processes mediating marine species interactions will be comprised of habitat engineering, resource-dependent effects and 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. Students will be trained in how to measure biodiversity with the aim of comparing communities in various habitats, and will be introduced into population dynamics.