REG-21306 Introduction to Animal Ecology


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Group work4
Excursion (one day)18
Course coordinator(s)dr. JF de Jong
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. AJ Murk
prof. dr. ir. F van Langevelde
dr. JF de Jong
FC Ribeiro da Cunha
dr. R Osinga
dr. R Nijland
prof. dr. M Naguib
dr. A Kotrschal
DL Maas
dr. SS Okoth
Examiner(s)prof. dr. M Naguib
prof. dr. ir. F van Langevelde
prof. dr. AJ Murk

Language of instruction:


Continuation courses:

REG-30306 Animal Ecology, REG-20806 Applied Animal Ecology, BHE-30306 Behavioural Ecology, MAE-30306 Marine Animal Ecology


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. Note that this course has a large overlap with PEN-10503 Ecology 1. 

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;
- summarize mechanisms that drive developments of animal populations;
- identify the role of animals in food webs;
- apply simple mathematical models on animal ecology;
- identify the ecological requirements of animals to their environment based on ecological theories, and summarize this in a short paper and using a poster.


Ecological principles applied to animals are studied using the book 'Essentials of Ecology', which are explained and illustrated by lectures and practised during tutorials and online self-tests. Part of the tutorials aim at improving the quantitative skills of students. Animal ecology will be illustrated by an excursion to the zoo. Students will work individually to identify the ecological requirements of an animal species of their choice, based on ecological theories discussed during the lectures and tutorials. The work has to be presented by a paper and a poster. Participation in the excursion, tutorials and presentations, and passing self-tests with at least 80% good answers is obligatory.


- Lectures + Tutorials = Exam (60%);
- Individual Project (30%);
- Excursion (10%).
Each component needs a minimum mark of 5.5 to pass.


Book 'Essentials of Ecology' (fourth edition, Wiley).

Compulsory for: BASAnimal SciencesBSc6WD