ENVR E-140: Fundamentals of Ecology

This course introduces basic concepts in the ecology of individual organisms, their populations, and the biological communities in which they live. Emphasis is on terrestrial plant and animal ecology. The historical, evolutionary, and ecological processes determining the distribution of ecosystems, habitats, and species are introduced. Evolutionary processes responsible for the adaptations of individuals are examined to understand the diversity of species and their features. Theories of competition, predation, disease, and mutualism help explain the functioning of biological communities. These fundamentals establish a basis for examining the challenges imposed by humans on the functioning of natural ecosystems. The sustainable harvesting and use of natural resources, the implications of human population growth and size, and the transformation of natural communities through human activities and policies are examined in this ecological context. The course features a weekend field trip and other activities.​
Note: Online with the option to attend class on campus.


Mark Leighton







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  • [Course titles in brackets] indicate that the course is not scheduled to be taught during the 2018-2019 academic year, but may be offered in an alternate year.
  • An asterisk (*) before a course number indicates that a student must obtain the instructor's permission in order to enroll in the course.

Harvard University
Center for the Environment

Address: 26 Oxford Street, 4th Floor, Cambridge
Phone: (617) 495-0368

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