Ecology of individuals and populations

lbio1217  2019-2020  Louvain-la-Neuve

Ecology of individuals and populations
Note from June 29, 2020
Although we do not yet know how long the social distancing related to the Covid-19 pandemic will last, and regardless of the changes that had to be made in the evaluation of the June 2020 session in relation to what is provided for in this learning unit description, new learnig unit evaluation methods may still be adopted by the teachers; details of these methods have been - or will be - communicated to the students by the teachers, as soon as possible.
3 credits
30.0 h + 10.0 h

The prerequisite(s) for this Teaching Unit (Unité d’enseignement – UE) for the programmes/courses that offer this Teaching Unit are specified at the end of this sheet.
Main themes
The first part of the course covers Demecology and population dynamics (15hrs) from data taken from observation and experimentation data of the living world. The notion of population will be seen by the study of intraspecific relations : group effect, competition and mass effect ; intraspecific competition and ecological value. Then the spatial structural notions of populations of analyzed. The demographical phenomenon of natality, growth and death and theories of density variation and numerical regulation of population are covered. In a second part, the behavioural ecology (15hrs) tests hypotheses such as economical decisions of the individual - "trade offs". The themes covered are the following : living in a group, combats and taxation, behavioural ecology of reproduction (sexual conflicts and sexual selection, parental care and reproduction systems as well as alternative reproductive strategies). The third part of the course covers adaptative strategies of plant populations (15hrs). The primary strategies (ressource allocation)will be shown by studying particular cases, for example, of invasive exotic plants. Then strategies linked to reproduction are seen :sexual and asexual reproduction, pollination syndromes, mating system evolution, and seed ecology (dispersion, , seed bank, dormancy, germination).

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :


To give an outline of spatial-temporal mechanisms of adaptation of living beings, of the way populations and their regulation systems function. In particular, analysis of population-environment systems are seen and emphasis on correlations between natural history of individuals and population strategies with different changes in their environment. We also want the students to understand the aim and conceptual scene of behaviour ecology (relations between natural selection, ecology and behaviour) and to be able to use these concepts by testing the hypothesis in a decisional way.


The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.
  • fichiers ppt des cours; Textbook de S.A Levin et al (2009) « the Princeton guide for Ecology »
Teaching materials
  • fichiers ppt des cours; Textbook de S.A Levin et al (2009) « the Princeton guide for Ecology »
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Interdisciplinary Advanced Master in Science and Management of the Environment and Sustainable Development

Master [60] in Environmental Science and Management

Master [120] in Environmental Science and Management

Master [120] in Geography : General

Bachelor in Biology

Minor in Scientific Culture