Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e dell'Ambiente - Guida degli insegnamenti (Syllabus)


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Seat Scienze
A.A. 2016/2017
Credits 8
Hours 64
Period 2^ semestre
Language ENG
U-gov code ST03 3S429


Knowledge of Mathematics, Physics, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Fundamentals of Biology, Oceanography, Meteorology and Climatology

Development of the course

The course is based on lectures (7 credits, 56 hours) and on practical exercises (1 credit, 8 hours) on data elaboration and definition of sampling strategies. The material presented in class is made available in the restricted area dedicated to the course in Sciences Moodle. The system will be used also to show the results of the exam. 

Learning outcomes

The course allows to acquire the basic knowledge of the ecology (concept of ecosystem, biotic and abiotic components and their interactions) and of the analysis of marine and terrestrial ecosystems (using different experimental approaches, methods and sampling strategies).

Ability to apply the knowledge:
The student will acquire the following professional skills: the ability to analyze an ecosystem with a holistic approach based on a proper sampling strategy and on the collection of a critical amount of data representative of the investigated system.

Soft skills:
The data processing and presentation during the practical exercises will help to improve the level of autonomy of the student in dealing with ecological issues and his/her communication ability to present a topic.


Content (lectures, 7 CFU, 56 hours):
Ecosystem: definition, structure, properties and fundamental components. Comparison between marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Abiotic factors and their relationships with organisms. Organic matter, detritus, biomass. Primary and secondary production. The cycle of water and the main biogeochemical cycles. Population ecology principles. Life strategy: r and k species. Ecological niche and habitat. Resilience and resistance. Resources and trophic structure. Species interactions: predation and competition. Biodiversity and ecological stability. Diversity index, measuring biodiversity, spatial and temporal gradients. Trophic chains and nets. Analysis of some selected ecosystems. Sampling strategy and methods in marine and terrestrial ecosystems.

Practical exercises:
Elaboration of ecological data collected in different cases study.
Presentation of the results of the analysis performed during the practical exercises.

Development of the examination

Methods for assessing learning outcomes:
The student will show knowledge gained during the course by means of a written test based on 32 questions: 30 questions are closed and multiple-choice while two questions are open. Multiple answers can be correct in the closed questions. All correct responses = 1 point; every wrong answer = - 0.2 points; one correct answer of the two = 0.5 points (1 point fractionated by the number of correct answers ); a response correct of the two and one wrong = 1/2 = 0.5- 0.2 = 0.3 points; two correct answers and one wrong = 1-0.2 = 0.8 points. I cannot answer and no answer (not open) = 0 points.

Criteria for assessing learning outcomes: 
In the written examination, students have to demonstrate that they have acquired basic principles of the ecology (characteristics of ecosystems, their functioning and dynamics). The two open questions will allow to evaluate the autonomy to deal with an issue and then the ability to communicate the information gained during the course.

Criteria for measuring learning outcomes:
The final vote of the exam is attributed in thirty. The exam is passed when the score is equal or higher than 18. In case of a score higher than 30 the final vote will be cum laude.

Criteria for conferring final mark:
The final score is awarded following the written exam. Praise is attributed when the score obtained by the written test exceeds the value of 30.

Recommended reading

Notes from lessons
Odum EP. 2001. Ecologia, un ponte tra scienza e società. Piccin, Padova
Bregon M, Harper JL, Townsend CR. 2000. Ecologia, individui, popolazioni, comunità. Zanichelli, Bologna
Chelazzi G, Provini A, Santini G. 2004. Ecologia dagli organismi agli ecosistemi. Ambrosiana, Milano

  • Scienze ambientali e protezione civile

Università Politecnica delle Marche
P.zza Roma 22, 60121 Ancona
Tel (+39) 071.220.1, Fax (+39) 071.220.2324
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