REG-21306 Introduction in Animal Ecology


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Field practical18
Group work4
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. ir. F van Langevelde
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. AJ Murk
prof. dr. ir. F van Langevelde
dr. R Osinga
prof. dr. M Naguib
FC Ribeiro da Cunha
dr. R Nijland
dr. JF de Jong
Examiner(s)prof. dr. M Naguib
prof. dr. HHT Prins
prof. dr. AJ Murk

Language of instruction:


Continuation courses:

Animal Ecology (REG 30306), Applied Animal Ecology (REG 20803), Behavioural Ecology (BHE 30306), Marine Animal Ecology (MAE 30306)


The course provides an introduction to animal ecology. The knowledge of this course is the basis for managing healthy population of animals in the wild as well as of animals living in captivity for production, companion and recreation. The focus of this course is on the interactions between animals and their abiotic and biotic environment. We will discuss theory and demonstrate cases on evolution, ecophysiology, migration, social organisation, communication, population dynamics, food webs, communities and adaptations of animals to the (sometimes extreme) environment. Attention will be given to the distribution of the resources for animals and the landscape in which animals find their home range. The focus of the course will be on terrestrial and marine vertebrate species.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- demonstrate knowledge of the relationships between animals and their environment and the adaptions of animals to different or changing environments;
- insight in the mechanisms that drive developments of animal populations;
- identify the role of animals in food webs;
- apply simple mathematical models on animal ecology.


Ecological principles applied to animals are studied using the book 'Essentials of Ecology', which are explained and illustrated by lectures and practised during computer practicals and online self-tests. The computer practicals are web-based and aim at improving the quantitative skills of students. The students have to deliver an individual short reflection on this work. Animal ecology will be illustrated by field visits highlighting typical examples of the studied subjects near Wageningen. For marine and aquatic subjects video presentations will be used. Specific subjects are studied in groups under supervision of a lecturer that will be presented as a scientific poster and a presentation pitch at the end of the course. The students will also review each other's posters and pitches. Participation in study groups, computer practicals and final presentations, and passing self-tests with at least 80% good answers is obligatory.


- Electronic exam (Question Mark Perception) (65%);
- Quantitative computer practical (10%);
- Scientific poster presenting the group study (15%);
- Presentation on group study (10%).
Each component needs a minimum mark of 5.5 to pass.

Compulsory for: BASAnimal SciencesBSc6WD