Invasion Biology
General Description of Course Content

Invasion Biology will explore the ways in which exotic species dynamics impact upon and relate to broader principles pertaining to theoretical ecology. These theoretical principles will be illustrated using exemplar studies of exotic species and ecological models drawn from the primary literature. Two texts will be used as general references, one is more empirically based (Cox 1999) and the other is principally a modeling text (Shigesada & Kawasaki 1997).

The two books are available from:

Labyrinth Books (536 W. 112th St.)
Barnes and Noble (using links above)

The course will have three components.

We will begin the course with an “Impacts” module discussing the extent and types of invasions. This module will emphasize the mechanisms of historical introduction. Two outcomes of this module will be to create a framework by which species are spread around the world and to look for ecological commonalties of successful introduced species.

The second “Theory” module will explore the basic ecological processes that are disrupted when exotics change the local ecological dynamics. This module will emphasize both experimental data and the models that have been created to explain

The third and last “Management” module will integrate the first two by creating a decision making framework within which viable management plans, if any, could be created for an exotic species.

Class will meet for 1.5 hours on Tuesday and Thursday (2:20 to 3:55) and is worth three credits. Most weeks will begin with a short (30 - 45 minute) introduction of that week’s topic by Dr. Danoff-Burg. The remainder of the course will be comprised of either a student-facilitated discussion of two or three current papers or by a hands-on activity (e.g., analyzing and interpreting data, constructing a theoretical model, designing an introduced species management plan).

Students will be evaluated by class participation (5% of overall grade), performance facilitating a discussion (10%), one mid-length (7 to 10 pages) review paper (20%), a modeling exercise (20%), an Introduced Species Summary Report (20%), and a final exam (25%). Students will be assigned grades on a straight scale (90-100 A, 80-89 B, 70-79 C, 60-69 D, 59 and below failing).

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