Instructor: Charles H. Janson, janson@life.bio.sunysb.edu, 516-632-8584
Undergraduate Courses:


1) Biology 351 -- Ecology, fall every year. This course surveys ecology from the level of individuals through populations to communities and ecosystems. Emphasis is placed on the understanding of changes in population size, interactions between species (competition, predation, parasitism, mutualism), community structure, climate, energy and nutrient flow, and applied problems such as conservation, overuse of resources, harvesting, and pollution. Prerequisites are basic calculus and introductory sequence in biology.

Ecology, BIO 351, Fall term, 1995

Hours: Tuesday & Thursday, 3:30-4:50 Place: Javits 101 Lecturer: Charles Janson, Life Sciences 672, 2-8584 T.A. : Jean Anastasia, 124 Dana Hall (MSRC), 2-8600 Text: The Science of Ecology. 2nd Ed. by Richard Brewer. Saunders College Publ. 1994.


Date Topic Readings 8/29 Introduction; the rationale and methods of ecology Ch. 1 8/31 Diversity: evolutionary and genetic perspectives pp.28-32,133-37,148-66 9/5 Behavioral ecology I: ecological aspects of group living pp. 118-27 9/7 Behavioral ecology II: how to find and chose food wisely pp.171-77 9/12 Behavioral ecology III: ecology of sexual reproduction pp.127-29 9/14 Physiological ecology I: patterns of climate handouts 9/19 Physiological ecology II: limits to spatial distributions pp. 13-28, 32-39, Ch. 3 9/21 Population growth: life history and its consequences pp.129-33, 137-48 9/26 Rosh Hashanah recess 9/28 Population growth: chaos and other problems Ch. 4, pp.194-97 10/3 Population interactions: friendly (mutualism) Ch. 9 10/5 Population interactions: competition Ch. 8 10/10 Population interactions: all-consuming (predation) pp. 187-204 10/12 Population interactions: part-consuming (herbivory) pp. 177-87 10/17 Population interactions: free-loaders (parasites) Ch. 7 10/19 Mid-term exam 10/24 Population regulation: interactions of limiting factors handouts 10/26 Community ecology: terrestrial biomes I -- processes Ch. 15&16 10/31 Community ecology: terrestrial biomes II -- patterns Ch. 17 11/2 Community ecology: aquatic biomes Ch. 18 11/7 Community ecology: descriptive patterns Ch. 11 11/9 Community ecology: species diversity, patterns and causes Ch. 10 11/14 Community ecology: changes in time Ch. 13 11/16 Macroevolution: the history of abundance & distribution Ch. 14 11/21 Ecosystem processes: flows and sinks Ch. 12 11/23 Thanksgiving recess (not in session) 11/28 Pollution: natural and unnatural chemical flows Ch. 20 11/30 Applied ecology: so many humans, so little space Ch. 21 12/5 Applied ecology: conservation biology Ch. 22 12/7 Applied ecology: solutions and self-interest; Review none 12/14 Final Exam, 3:30-6:30 pm
Grading: Exam questions will be short answer and/or multiple choice. The midterm is worth 30%; the final (cumulative) is worth 40%; the remaining 30% of the grade is composed of six (6) 15-minute in-class quizzes, based on the assigned reading for the previous meeting's lecture. The dates for the in-class quizzes will not be announced. If you have a physical, psychiatric/emotional, medical or learning disability that may impact on your abilty to carry out assigned course work, I would urge that you contact the staff in the Disabled Student Services office, Room 113 Humanities, 632-6748/TDD. DSS will review your concerns and determine, with you, what accomodations are necessary and appropriate. All information and documentation of disability is confidential
2) Biology 352 -- Ecology Laboratory, summer I, every year. The summer version of this course is designed to illustrate ecological principles by gathering data in the field, followed by statistical analysis and biological interpretation. The course is held at the Swan Pond Biological Station near Manorville, NY, in two all-day sessions per week. Each session consists of one or two discrete projects, which sometimes require more than a single session. Topics covered include: census techniques and population estimation, demography, spatial patterns, seed predation, species diversity, sampling and analysis of behavior, plant-animal mutualisms.

Syllabus: BIO 352/BEE 571 -- Ecology Laboratory, Summer Term I, 1995 Instructor: Dr. Charles Janson TA: Tom Gordon Office hours (672 Life Sciences): Wednesday 10:00-12:00 am and by appointment Required text: none (Ecology, by P. D. Stiling, is on reserve in the BIO library for supplemental background reading) Requirements/basis for grade: 3 short laboratory reports (on sessions of student's choice): 25% each. 1 1-hour short-answer final exam: 25%, held on June 29 (graduate level only: 1 research term paper, due on June 29) Equipment needed: binoculars, field clothing (including canvas shoes or boots for work in water), insect repellent, bound notebook. The list below is tentative, as I will not know exactly which animals and plants are in what state of development or availability until the week before the meeting.


Date Topic May 23 am Introduction & red-tape; Long Island paleo-ecology May 23 pm Introduction to Swan Pond site and pine barrens; Allelopathy in plants (set up) May 25 am Habitat preferences of birds in the pine barrens May 25 pm Observing bird behavior May 30 am Analyse and discuss bird behavior/distribution results May 30 pm Small mammal trapping -- make grid (set on 5/31, 6/5) June 1 am collect mammals, describe, mark -- demography June 1 pm Demography (cont.) -- tree rings or gravestones June 6 am collect mammals, take up trap grid June 6 pm analyse recapture data, discuss extensions June 8 am Community variation: Replicate vernal ponds June 8 pm Community variation (cont.): ordination June 13 am Allelopathy (data collection); Crypsis: patterns of color June 13 pm Crypsis: patterns of behavior or dragonfly behavior; Escape from predation -- spacing patterns (set up) June 15 am Escape from predation -- data collection and analysis June 15 pm Physiological ecology: leaf temperatures June 20 am Plant disease: natural history and description June 20 pm Plant disease: analysis of spatial pattern June 22 am Pollinator movements +/or bee choice expts. June 22 pm Pollen flow & plant mating systems June 27 am Host plant distribution of herbivorous insects June 27 pm Feeding specializations of herbivorous insects; Animal response to fruit color (set up) June 29 am Fruit color (record and analyse data) June 29 pm Final Exam and farewell picnic rain-day alternatives: reproductive allocation in herbaceous plants, zooplankton identification and trophic relationships; sampling of stream meiofauna ('mud'), closed-cone vs. open-cone pine cone frequency (samples from dwarf pine plains and SPBS), plant survey of red maple swamp

Graduate Courses:

1) BEE 550 -- Principles of Ecology, fall, every year (with M. Lerdau). This course presents a survey of current ecological thought including population dynamics, behavioral and evolutionary ecology, species interactions and population stability, community structure and assembly, physiological ecology, and ecosystem ecology. Emphasis is on conceptual and theoretical principles applicable to many systems, rather than a detailed analysis of a few particular systems.

BEE 550: Principles of Ecology, Fall 1995 Hours: Monday & Wednesday, 1:30-3:30 pm Place: Life Sciences 054 Lecturers: Charles Janson, Life Sciences 672, 2-8584 Manuel Lerdau, Life Sciences 632, 2-6633 Doug Futuyma, Life Sciences 670, 2-8608 Texts: Begon, Harper, & Townsend. Ecology: Individuals, populations, and communities. Blackwell, Boston (1990). Aber and Melillo. Terrestrial Ecosystems. Saunders College, Philadelphia (1991). Pimm, S. The Balance of Nature? Chicago Univ. Press (1991). Selected readings from reserve texts (Yodzis, Ricklefs and Schluter, Gurevitch and Scheiner, Maynard Smith) and original literature.


Date Lecturer Topic 8/28 CJ,ML Introduction; Ecological models; Units and scales 8/30 CJ,ML Plant allocation patterns; Age structured models; Life history theory & optimization 9/4 --- Labor day 9/6 CJ Population models, from simple to complex (chaos); TERM PAPER TOPICS DUE 9/11 CJ Behavioral ecology: Foraging theory 9/13 CJ Behavioral ecology: Game theory 9/18 CJ Behavioral ecology: Ecology of mating and social systems, sexual selection 9/20 ML Plant physiol. ecology I; HAND OUT PROBLEM SET I 9/25 --- Rosh Hashanah recess 9/27 ML Plant physiol. ecology II; PROBLEM SET DUE; IN-CLASS MIDTERM EXAM 10/2 DF Evolution of resource use patterns: the niche 10/4 --- Yom Kippur 10/9 CJ Population interactions: competition 10/11 CJ Population interactions: predation (& parasitism) 10/16 JT Population interactions: mutualisms; HAND IN GRANT PROPOSAL TOPIC 10/18 DF Evolution of species interactions 10/23 CJ Equilibrial views of communities 10/25 CJ Non-equilibrium communities: Succession,disturbance/lottery models 10/30 CJ Heterogeneous communities: source-sink models/biogeography 11/1 CJ Community patterns: food webs, HSS, species diversity 11/6 DF Adaptations to changing environments 11/8 ML Soil Communities; GRANT PROPOSAL DUE 11/13 ML Soil Processes 11/15 ML Ecosystem science/system physiology; HAND OUT PROBLEM SET II 11/20 ML Biosphere-hydrosphere-atmosphere exchanges; PROBLEM SET DUE 11/22 DF,ML Ecosystem patterns in historical perspective 11/27 JT Conservation biology 11/29 JL Marine ecosystems I; TAKEHOME MIDTERM 12/4 ML Climate & climate change; MIDTERM DUE 12/6 ML Mid-high latitude systems (boreal, tundra) 12/11 ML,CJ Tropics; TERM PAPER DUE Grading is based on 2 take-home problem sets (5%@), a written report on a field or library research project (30%), one in-class and one take-home exam (each 20%), and a short grant proposal (20%). The exams are designed to stimulate synthesis of lecture material and extension to material on reading lists; you are encouraged to study in groups, but each person's answer must be written alone. The grant proposal (on an assigned topic; less than 10 pages) is designed to force in-depth consideration of a relatively small topic; you will have exactly two weeks to research and write it. 2) BEE 5MM -- Evolutionary Ecology, spring, odd years, new course in 1997. The purpose of this course is to review the theoretical background of evolutionary and behavioral ecology so that students can understand and manipulate graphical and analytical models to make predictions for particular biological systems. Syllabus not established yet, but basic coverage will be provided by Michael Bulmer's book Theoretical Evolutionary Ecology and by Eric Pianka s revised Evolutionary Ecology, along with supplemental readings from the original literature. Lectures should be about half of the course, with the remainder consisting of student oral presentations or discussion groups in class. Grade will be based on class participation and presentations, and a term project, which could be either a literature review, elaboration of a new model, or application of an existing model to new data.