BIOL 822

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BIOL 822   LANDSCAPE ECOLOGY

FALL SEMESTERS (ODD YEARS)

MW 11:30-12:20

F 11:30-2:20

Instructor:  Dr. Kimberly A. With

 

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BIOL 822. Landscape Ecology. (4) I, in odd years. Effect of spatial pattern on ecological processes. Course will emphasize how spatial complexity emerges and is maintained in ecological systems, the analysis of spatial pattern, scaling issues, the ecological consequences of spatial pattern and applications for conservation and ecosystem management in both aquatic and terrestrial systems. Two lecture hours, one hour discussion and two laboratory hours per week. Pr: BIOL 529 or equivalent.

 

Required Textbooks:

1) M. G. Turner, R. H. Gardner, and R. V. O'Neill.  2001.  Landscape Ecology in Theory and Practice:  Pattern and Process.  Springer-Verlag, New York.
2) Gergel, S. E., and M. G. Turner, editors.  2002.  Learning Landscape Ecology:  A Practical Guide to Concepts and Techniques.  Springer-Verglag, New York.

 

What is Landscape Ecology?

Landscape Ecology is a rapidly emerging discipline concerned with the study of the effects of spatial pattern on ecological process. All ecological systems possess spatial complexity at some scale, and thus Landscape Ecology is applicable to all areas of ecology encompassing a wide range of scales (from fine scales to broad regional scales), systems (both terrestrial and aquatic), and disciplines. Ecology has traditionally either ignored spatial complexity or has focused on how ecological processes give rise to spatial pattern. Landscape Ecology thus provides a complementary approach, by explicitly focusing on how spatial pattern affects ecological process. Landscape Ecology is becoming increasingly relevant for applied areas of ecology, such as conservation biology, ecological restoration, biological control, invasive species biology, and ecosystem management.

Definition of "landscape"

A "landscape" is a spatially heterogeneous area, scaled relative to the organism or process of interest.  Thus, the spatial extent of a landscape may be a few square meters or many square kilometers depending upon the specific process or organism being studied.  Furthermore, a "landscape" may be aquatic, given that spatial heterogeneity is also a feature of aquatic systems.


The Domain of Landscape Ecology

Landscape Ecology focuses on six major areas of inquiry:

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To identify and understand how various processes generate and maintain landscape pattern

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To quantify landscape pattern and determine the scale(s) at which spatial pattern emerges

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To explore the effect that spatial pattern has on biotic and abiotic processes

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To study the interactions and exchanges that occur across spatially heterogeneous landscapes

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To understand the role of human land-use activities on landscape structure and function

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To develop sound ecological principles for the management of landscape heterogeneity

Some general questions that are addressed within the scope of landscape ecology are:

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What biotic and abiotic processes are responsible for the formation and dynamics of landscape patterns?

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At what scale does spatial structure emerge on landscapes?  

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How does spatial pattern affect ecological processes, such as the movement of organisms (or the flow of water, materials or nutrients) across landscapes?

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How does landscape structure affect the spread of disturbances, such as fire or disease or invasive species?

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How can a landscape ecological perspective contribute to better resource or land management?

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What can landscape ecology contribute to the conservation of biodiversity?

 
LANDSCAPE LINKS:

International Association for Landscape Ecology (IALE)

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    IALE Bulletin (PDF files)

U.S.-Regional Chapter of the International Association for Landscape Ecology

Landscape Ecology  Journal

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    Early Papers (1987-1997)


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