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Facoltā di Scienze Agrarie e Alimentari Universitā degli Studi di Milano
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Fundamental of ecology and forestry mod. 1: Fundamentals of Ecology
Code: G260SA
Teacher:  Bruno Rossaro
CFU subdivision: Lectures: 3
Practices in classroom: 1
Basic aims:  Knowledge of the physical habitat, relationships between
specimens, populations, community annd their habitat,
basic elements useful in studying ecosystems
Acquired skills:  Basic knowledge of ecosystem structure and function. First
elements useful for sustainable management of
Course contents:  The aim of the ecology. The ecosystem. Energy in
ecosystems. Biogeochemical cycles. Limiting factors.
Population ecology. Community ecology, biodiversity.
Esosystem dynamics. Water and soil ecology. Global
ecological problems and sustainable development.
Ecological networks and territorial planning.
Program:  LESSONS

1. Introduction to ecology
What is ecology. Ecology and environmentalism. Ecological
relationships with other scientific disciplines.

2. The ecosystem.
Ecosystem concept. Structure of ecosystems. Basic
concepts on energy. Energy laws. Food chains. Food webs
and trophic levels. Primary and secondary production.
Consumers, detritivores and decomposers. Trophic
structures and ecological pyramids.

3. Biogeochemical cycles.
Cycles of: water, nitrogen, phosphorus, ozone, carbon.
Anthropogenic alteration of biogeochemical cycles,
greenhouse effect and global warming.

4. Limiting factors.
Law of minimum, tolerance ranges, ecotypes. Regulatory
factors. Biological indicators and biotic indices.

5. Population ecology.
Properties of populations. Growth of a population. Mortality
curves and survival. Exponential and logistic growth
models. Bearing capacity. Selection King K. Mechanisms of
regulation of population density. Metapopulations.

6. Community ecology.
Interactions between populations. Gause's principle. Lotka-
Volterra's model. Concepts of habitat and ecological niche.
Biodiversity: scales and values.

7. Dynamics of ecosystems
Evolution of ecosystems: the ecological succession and the
concept of climax. Basic community structure analysis.
Ecological restoration.

8. Landscape ecology.
Landscape scale levels. Landscape elements. Island
biogeography and ecological networks.

9. Soil Ecology.
Chemical and physical composition and biologic
populations. The most common soil organisms. Soil
evolution. Indicators of the biological quality of the soil.

10. Aquatic Ecology.
Marine and freshwater ecology. Rivers, lakes and

11. Territorial planning and ecology.


1. The biological quality of the soil, determination of QBs ar
on soil samples. The biological quality of running waters,
determination of IBE index.

2. Ecological networks in urban areas. Evaluation of
ecological connectivity in the Milan area.
Prerequisites:  Basic knowledge of mathematics, physic, chemistry and
Preparatory instructions:  none
Learning materials:  E. P. Odum & G. W. Barret
Fundamentals of ecology. 5th edition
Thomson Brooks/Cole

T.M. Smith, R.L. Smith
Elements of Ecology
Pearson ed.

E. P. Odum

R.E. Ricklefs

W. P. Cunningham, M. A. Cunningham, B. Woodworth Saigo
Fondamenti di Ecologia
Other info:  Preliminary test with closed questions and subsequent oral
examination. To access the oral must pass the preliminary
test with at least 24/30.
The final vote will take account of the results of both tests.
Educational material on ARIEL UNIMI
Program of Fundamental of ecology and forestry mod. 1: Fundamentals of Ecology (pdf version)
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