16 hours
9 modules
Purchase this course

This comprehensive self-study course on population ecology covers a range of fascinating subjects including communities, species interactions, predator-prey cycles, species distribution, population growth and regulation as well as niches and competition. This course is an ideal follow-on from our Introduction to Ecology or for anyone with some ecological knowledge. It is suitable for people seeking employment in ecological consultancy, research or conservation.

Course Outline

Module 1 – What is a population?

  • Populations definition and examples
  • Demography – describing populations
  • Population size and density and methods for measuring
  • Species distribution – uniform, random, clumped

Module 2 – Predicting population size

  • Life tables
  • Survivorship
  • Age-sex structure

Module 3 – Survival and reproduction in populations

  • Life history strategies
  • Parental care vs fecundity
  • Single vs multiple reproduction

Module 4 – Population growth

  • Density dependent and independent factors
  • Predator-prey cycles (also Module 9)
  • Exponential and logistic growth
  • Carrying capacity

Module 5 – Population regulation

  • Density dependent and independent factors
  • Population fluctuations
  • Population cycles

Module 6 – Interactions between populations

  • Ecological communities
  • Interspecific interactions – competition, predation, symbiosis, mutualism. Commensalism, parasitism

Module 7 – Ecological interactions

  • Consumer/heterotroph
  • Predators and prey
  • Carnivores and herbivores
  • Autotrophs
  • Primary, secondary, tertiary consumers
  • Competition

Module 8 – Niches and competition

  • What is a niche?
  • Interspecific competition
  • Competitive Exclusion Principle
  • Resource partitioning

Module 9 – Predator-prey cycles

  • Predators
  • Predator-prey population dynamics
  • Defence mechanisms
  • Course Summary

Course format: The 9 self-study modules you can read through the content in your own time. To further enhance your knowledge and learning experience there will be some directed reading for each module (it is essential you complete this to ensure you get the most out of the course). At the end there will be a short quiz and if you get over 70% you will receive a Certificate.

Time commitment: We advise students to allow 2-4 hours per module to complete each module and to read around the subject.

How to book: You can book on-line here. Once you have booked, we will e-mail you to confirm that your booking has been received and you will then be able to start the course.


Booking for another person?

If you are purchasing a course/s on behalf of another person, please follow these steps to ensure they can access their course/s:

  1. Create a student account using the student’s (whoever will be taking the course) details and contact information or use their existing student account.
  2. Including the correct billing address and information for the payment method that was used.
  3. Leave us a note in the ‘additional information’ box to let us know it was purchased with another person’s debit/credit card.
  4. Make sure to pass on the Username and Password to the student so they can get started on learning. All their course materials will be available on their account.


Booking for multiple people?

If you are purchasing courses on behalf of multiple other people, follow these steps to ensure they can access their course/s:

  1. Create a student account under your own details and add the correct number of courses for all the students you are purchasing for. (Example: If three people need to take Mammal ID, add it to basket three times).
  2. Ask each student (person who you have purchased the course for) to create their own student account on our website with their own details.
  3. Once purchased, contact us directly to let us know the Names, student account Usernames and Email Addresses for each student you have bought for.
  4. We will contact each of them directly with directions on how to purchase the course free of charge once it has been paid for already.

If you have any problems with this process, please get in touch – [email protected] or 03301653024