A Quick Overview of
PCB 2033-Introduction to Ecology

Professor Chris Migliaccio

Department of
Natural Sciences,Health &Wellness

PCB 2033 is an exciting 3 credit course for non-science majors that presents the key ecological concepts that are so necessary for students who will be majoring in such diverse fields as economics, business, sociology, engineering, law, history, any of the other natural sciences or the English language.

In our rapidly changing world, understanding the environmental issues of clean air and water, preservation of wetlands (including our Everglades), endangered species and biodiversity, and other related issues requires all citizens to have a working knowledge of how organisms relate to one another, as well as how populations, communities and ecosystems function.

This course will introduce you to how plants and animals are perfectly adapted to their environment - no matter how hot, cold, wet, dry, light or dark it is and how they interact with one another to survive, grow and reproduce.

You'll also discover how evolution and natural selection affect the fitness of organisms and learn about the distinctive characterisics of populations, communities and ecosystems - particularly here in South Florida.

Course Units include:

  • Introduction: What is Ecology?
    • ecology & environmentalism
    • history of ecology
    • applying the scientific method in ecology
    • the processes of evolution by natural selection

  • The Physical Environment
    • weather & climate
    • light and the water cycle
    • temperature and moisture
    • "Nutrients & Soils - Not Dirty Words Any More"

  • The Organism and Its Environment
    • the many "flavors" of photosynthesis
    • cellular respiration
    • decomposition: "the worms crawl in; the worms crawl out, eating your guts and spitting them out"
    • how animals and plants are adapted for hot, cold, wet, dry, bright, dark environments
    • "Tick - toc: biological clocks" and periodicity

  • Populations
    • abundant, common or rare?
    • sexual relationships in Nature
    • raising your young
    • "Biodiversity: Extinctions Are Forever"

  • Communities
    • "The Alien Invaders Among Us - Exotic Plants & Animals in South Florida "
    • "Parasites We Love To Hate"
    • "Interspecifc Relationships - Can They Find True Love?"
    • "Niches of the Ecologically Rich but Not Famous"
    • How fast food restaurants act like living species
    • "What Would Happen If You Never Mowed Your Lawn Again - Ever?"

  • Biogeography and Biodiversity
    • The World Tour: Biogeographical Realms & Biomes
      • Tundra
      • Taiga
      • Boreal Forests
      • Deciduous Forests
      • Savannahs
      • Chaparral
      • Deserts
      • Tropical Forests

By the end of this course, you will...

  • understand how organisms are adapted to survive, grow and reproduce
  • understand the tremendous diversity of how organisms interact with one another
  • understand how the forces of natural selection and ecological succession shape populations and communities
  • understand how populations, communities and ecosystems are structured and how they work
  • understand the uniqueness of our South Florida ecosystem
  • have a greater appreciation of the beauty and amazing complexity of the natural world

This course features:
  • Multimedia classroom presentations
  • Cool videos / DVDs for in-class cooperative writing assignments
  • A wide variety of extra credit choices
  • Power Point lecture outlines free to all students
  • Opportunities for ecological service-learning
  • A lively classroom atmosphere that is always exciting
  • Online practice quizzes

"Ok, Professor M - this class looks pretty interesting, but how can I do well in the course?"

  • Be an enthusiastic learner about Nature.
  • Read a little each day to keep up with the assigned readings.
  • Attend class regularly and take notes on your Power Point outlines.
  • Participate in each day's class discussions.
  • Complete the online practice quizzes (for points and knowledge)
  • Attend as many of the weekend fieldtrips as you can.
  • Study and then take 6 quizzes (keep your best 5 scores).
  • Complete the in-class writing assignments with your partners.
  • Work with your team to prepare an outstanding Ecosystems presentation.
  • Take advantage of all extra credit opportunities.
  • Have fun!

Thanks for visiting this Web site today !

I look forward to seeing you in PCB 2033 soon!

All photographs on this page including background are © Christopher P. Migliaccio except where noted and may not be used for any purpose
without the express written permission of Christopher P. Migliaccio

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This page was updated on 07.30.08