Adaptation to Human Environments

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Adaptation to Human Environments

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study

    Anthropology, Ecology, Life Sciences, Social Ecology

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations

    Upper

    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

    6
  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4
  • Overview

    COURSE OBJECTIVE
    This course addresses the potential and realized adaptation of organisms to human impacted environments. We will focus on a number of distinct types of anthropogenic environments that are globally widespread and that are rapidly replacing natural environments through agriculture, industry and urbanization. We will consider how this has led to the formation of an evolutionary novel type of habitat: the anthropogenic environment and discuss differences as well as similarities between natural and anthropogenic habitats. Next we will identify important selection pressures that are likely to be key drivers of anthropogenic biodiversity. The final aim of the course is to understand whether and how organisms adapt to human-altered environments and to use this knowledge to improve, or manage biodiversity.

    At the end of the course the student can:
    a) Apply theory on community ecology to understand anthropogenic biodiversity
    b) Explain how species adapt to specific types of human activities
    c) Understand the planetary boundary principle and describe benefits of biodiversity
    d) Design and carry out research on adaptation in human environments

    COURSE CONTENT

    • comparing anthropogenic and natural environments
    • urban ecology / agroecology
    • biodiversity of anthropogenic habitats
    • planetary boundaries
    • genetic adaptation
    • developmental plasticity
    • behavioural flexibility
    • species interactions - sensory pollution

    TEACHING METHODS
    Lectures, Seminar and/or practicals (t.b.d.)

    TYPE OF ASSESSMENT
    Written examination Oral and/or written assignment (t.b.d.)

    RECOMMENDED BACKGROUND KNOWLEDGE
    All preceding ecological courses in the curriculum.

    TARGET AUDIENCE
    BSc Biology

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

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