The free online course Diploma in Ecology Studies provides information on the principles and practices ecology in conservation, natural resource management, forestry, agriculture and fisheries, as well as the role human interactions play in today's changing world.
The course begins by introducing you to the four levels of biological organization - organismal, population, community, and ecosystem. You will then learn about aspects of biogeography, such as the geographic distribution of living things and the abiotic factors that affect their distribution. The course also focuses on the eight major terrestrial biomes: tropical wet forests, savannas, subtropical deserts, temperate grasslands, temperate forests, boreal forests, Arctic tundra and aquatic ecosystems. It explains their various characteristics and the effects of industrialization, destructive harvesting and over-fishing has on them. The course also covers how environmental disturbances affect ecosystem structure and dynamics. The main factors in relation to conceptual models, analytical models and simulation models are explained. You will learn how mineral nutrients are cycled through ecosystems and their environment, focusing on the interconnected cycles of water, carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulphur. The core threats to biodiversity are also covered, such as human population growth and unsustainable resource use, as well as how habitat loss occurs through deforestation, damming of rivers, and other activities. Finally, you will learn about the legislative framework for biodiversity protection and the cataloging of the planet’s biodiversity using methods such as DNA barcoding and information processing. You will also learn how the science of island biogeography has informed the optimal design and layout of conservation preserves and how they are used for biodiversity protection.
This free Diploma course will be of great interest to professionals working in the ecology, environment and conservation sectors, and to any learner who would like to learn more about understanding ecosystems and the environment, including concepts of population and community ecology, biodiversity and sustainability.
All Alison courses are free to study. To successfully complete a course you must score 80% or higher in each course assessments. Upon successful completion of a course, you can choose to make your achievement formal by purchasing an official Alison Diploma, Certificate or PDF.
Having an official Alison document is a great way to celebrate and share your success. It is:
Ideal to include with CVs, job applications and portfolios
A way to show your ability to learn and achieve high results
Having completed this diploma course you will be able to:
- Define ecology and the four levels of ecological research;
- Distinguish between abiotic and biotic components of the environment;
- Recognize the relationship between components of the environment;
- Define global climate change;
- Explain the effects of the Industrial Revolution on atmospheric carbon dioxide levels;
- List the three natural factors affecting long-term global climate;
- List two or more greenhouse gases and describe their role in the greenhouse effect;
- Explain how ecologists measure population size and density;
- List the three different patterns of population distribution;
- Relate population growth and age structure to economic development;
- Define the long-term implications of unchecked human population growth;
- Explain the predator-prey cycle;
- Define the competitive exclusion principle;
- Explain community structure and succession;
- List the basic types of ecosystems on Earth;
- Explain the methods that ecologists use to study ecosystem structure and dynamics;
- Explain trophic levels and how ecological pyramids are used to model them;
- Define biodiversity;
- Define ecosystem services;
- Identify significant threats to biodiversity;
- Explain the effects of habitat loss, exotic species, and hunting on biodiversity;
- Explain the legislative framework for conservation;
- and explain the principles and challenges of conservation preserve design.