About this Course
4.8
55 ratings
19 reviews
This course is an introduction to ecology and ecosystem dynamics using a systems thinking lens. Through a case study on Mozambique's Gorongosa National Park, learners will explore how scientists study ecosystems, and investigate the complex array of factors that inform management efforts. At the end of the course, learners will be able to grapple with real-world conservation questions, such as whether an ecosystem can recover from anthropogenic disruption and what role humans can, and should, play in that recovery....
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Intermediate Level

Intermediate Level

Clock

Suggested: 4 hours/week

Approx. 7 hours to complete
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English

Subtitles: English
Globe

100% online courses

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Calendar

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.
Intermediate Level

Intermediate Level

Clock

Suggested: 4 hours/week

Approx. 7 hours to complete
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

1

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Can an Ecosystem Recover?

We begin in Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique, and pose the question: Can this ecosystem recover after a 15-year civil war? To answer this question, learners must first consider what they need to know—what are the parts that make up this ecosystem, and how do they interact and work together? How do ecosystems react to disruption? How do we know? We will begin to explore the ecosystem as a dynamic whole rather than as a collection of parts, considering how changes might affect the system in a variety of ways. This application of a systems thinking lens to understanding ecosystems will be a common theme throughout the course....
Reading
3 videos (Total 26 min), 7 readings, 1 quiz
Video3 videos
Introduction to Module One1m
Africa's Savanna Ecosystems23m
Reading7 readings
Syllabus5m
Classroom Resources10m
Course Credits1m
Mozambique's Gorongosa National Park: Can an Ecosystem Recover?10m
Introduction to Ecology10m
Introduction to Biodiversity10m
Introduction to Systems--and Systems Thinking10m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Module One: What have you learned?20m

2

Section
Clock
1 hour to complete

How Do We Study Populations?

This week, we narrow the focus to populations within ecosystems. Who or what populates an ecosystem, and what are their roles? How do these roles change over time? What happens when a species is removed from a system? How do scientists study the populations within an ecosystem, from its largest to its smallest inhabitants? You will explore the important roles different species can play—such as ecosystem engineers, keystone species, and indicator species—and how they shape their ecosystems....
Reading
3 videos (Total 38 min), 2 readings, 1 quiz
Video3 videos
Modeling Population and Species Interactions Holiday Lecture29m
Surveying Ant Diversity in Gorongosa National Park7m
Reading2 readings
How do we Study a Population--and Why? Part I: Population Dynamics10m
How do we Study a Population--and Why? Part II: Modeling Population Growth10m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Module Two: What have you learned?20m

3

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

How Do Species Coexist?

This week we focus on community ecology and further explore the interactions between species in an ecosystem. For instance, how does the decline in a population from an ecosystem (as was the case in Gorongosa) affect the other players? How does adding a population -- such as an invasive species or translocated herds -- affect an ecosystem?...
Reading
4 videos (Total 86 min), 2 readings, 1 quiz
Video4 videos
How Species Coexist26m
Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others: Keystone Species and Trophic Cascades19m
Communities as Ecological Networks39m
Reading2 readings
Communities and the Interaction Between Species10m
Community Structure and Dynamics10m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Module Three: What have you learned?20m

4

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

How is an Ecosystem a System?

This week, we will further their understanding about what makes an ecosystem a system by examining the flow of energy and matter through different parts of the environment. This includes understanding the interactions of biotic and abiotic factors within an ecosystem and the services each component provides. We will introduce the complicated effects of both abiotic (climate change) and biotic (herbivory) interactions within a coastal salt marsh system, touching on ecological concepts of thresholds in a system and ecosystem resistance and resilience....
Reading
3 videos (Total 52 min), 2 readings, 1 quiz
Video3 videos
Climate Stress and Coastal Food Webs43m
Analyzing Patterns in a Savanna Landscape7m
Reading2 readings
Flow of Energy and Matter in an Ecosystem10m
Ecosystem Services, Functioning, and Resilience10m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Module Four: What have you learned?20m
4.8

Top Reviews

By RNJun 14th 2018

I recommend this course to everyone who loves Wildlife Conservation. I learned new knowledge and awareness from the very good speakers and the articles presented. Good job!

By RCJun 6th 2018

Great course--a good combination of lectures, articles, and appropriate assignments. Enjoyed the practical and positive spin of the course!

Instructor

Ana Luz Porzecanski

Director
Center for Biodiversity and Conservation

About American Museum of Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History is one of the world’s preeminent scientific, educational and cultural institutions. Since its founding in 1869, the Museum has advanced its global mission to discover, interpret, and disseminate information about human cultures, the natural world, and the universe through a wide-ranging program of scientific research, education, and exhibition....

About Howard Hughes Medical Institute

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to advance biomedical research and science education. The HHMI BioInteractive website provides free multimedia resources to science educators and students. They include multimedia interactive resources, such as apps, animations, videos, click and learns, and virtual labs....

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Once you enroll for a Certificate, you’ll have access to all videos, quizzes, and programming assignments (if applicable). Peer review assignments can only be submitted and reviewed once your session has begun. If you choose to explore the course without purchasing, you may not be able to access certain assignments.

  • When you purchase a Certificate you get access to all course materials, including graded assignments. Upon completing the course, your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page - from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free.

More questions? Visit the Learner Help Center.