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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Ecology: Ecosystem Dynamics and Conservation by American Museum of Natural History

3,040 ratings

About the Course

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....

Top reviews


Jun 1, 2019

This was particularly in-depth on the sciences of ecology, and having it based around a particular conservation project made it easier to follow each progressive lecture and concept that was explored.


Jan 3, 2021

One of the best course, I have ever taken. The materials is not hard to follow and the in-depth explanation gives you a proper new perspective which is still open to debate due to conservation topic

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51 - 75 of 819 Reviews for Ecology: Ecosystem Dynamics and Conservation

By Skyler S

Jun 4, 2020

I absolutely loved taking this course! I've always loved biology and learning about the environment, and this class really furthered my knowledge on different ecological processes and conservation. I have a much better understanding of how different species play such a crucial role in their ecosystem as well as how biotic and abiotic factors influence the environment. Learning about how humans play a role in the ecosystem has made me more aware of the ways in which we can preserve the planet and restore the biodiversity of global ecosystems. I highly recommend this class to anyone interested in the environment, conservation and repopulation of different species, and how ecologists are taking a biocultural stance when deciding how to preserve ecosystems around the world.

By T.J. E

Jun 16, 2020

Wow, this is an amazing course, well organized, starting big and broad and zooming in progressively from there to build a very comprehensive introduction to ecology. Ultimately, this course is about more than just about "plants and animals," though: It's about a whole way of making sense of the world using systems thinking. I came away from it seeing the world around me differently, from the current COVID crisis, to the world economy, to climate and weather. Systems thinking is one of the great evolutions in our modern worldview, and I feel I have got a basic introduction to it here. Also, the readings were very thoughtful and helpful, the videos were slick and entertaining, and the instructors were experts. A+

By Sameen J

Sep 17, 2021

This is an unique introduction to ecology and conservation. It goes beyond just basics of ecology and focuses on how ecology is practiced in conservation. Centering the course around a specific example like Gorongosa was an excellent idea, it really helped highlight how ecology can be applied in conservation. The readings and lectures were very interesting and thought-provoking. I have taken a beginner ecology course before, so some of the concepts were familiar to me and I did not have any difficulty following the course - however maybe a proper beginner may face difficulties with some of the topics. Still overall it is an enjoyable course that takes a refreshing and fascinating approach to teaching ecology.

By Cesar M

Aug 6, 2020

This is the first course that I complete. Every reading and video is interesting and motivates for further learning. I am very happy that we have access to this quality content and knowledge for free. The case study shows how the systemic approaches of Ecology can be put into practice for solving some of the greatest challenges that we as humanity have. There are many philosophical and ethical questions involved and the discussions on different approaches and points of view are of great value. I recommend this course to anyone passionate and interested in understanding better how nature works and how important it is for us to support our decisions on scientific knowledge. Thank you!

By Somunint O

May 31, 2020

This course went beyond my expectations. It was a great introduction and guide to ecology, and managed to keep my curiosity for the subject going throughout the weeks. I especially love how the instructor based the course on a single conservation project in Mozambique, making it easier for the learners to follow what's being discussed. This course broadened my knowledge and passion for the field of wildlife conservation, and I am thankful to the instructors for putting all their time and effort into making this a wonderful experience for me, and for others! I am a high school student chasing his dreams, and I think taking this course motivated me to continue my desire to learn.

By Pham T K

Apr 18, 2020

Even though I haven't finished this course at the time I write this review but I simply can't wait :) This a great course for those are interested in learning about conservation and ecosystem. It explains the importance of conversation very well, especially in this age of global climate change, as well as some research areas such as ecosystem services and resilience. I would highly recommend this course for high school students who wanna discovery about this particular field, as well as environmental undergraduate/master students (any who related to environmental studies) for a better understanding about the ecological protection and conservation.

By Mina N

Apr 9, 2022

I learned a lot from this course and I strongly reccomend it. As I'm not a native English speaker, I was rather overwhelmed by the considerable amount of readings, but the contents were not so difficult and there were many graphs and illustrations that made them fairly easy to understand. I am not young but if I have a chance, I would definitely want to work as a conservationist. Some of the videos were in lecture style and both speakers were really nice and the lectures were definitely worth listening to, but the explanations on math sometimes went really fast, so I couldn't follow. But the quiz didn't go deeper so it was a big relief.

By Ajit K

Jul 26, 2020

Hello friends !!

I am Ajit from India. Being biotechnologist and fascinated by conservation work, I really wanted to explore my knowledge about ecology and conservation. I am happy with this course and this course completed all my expectations. I really recommend this course to those who are working in the fields of conservation, ecology and wildlife. The course materials include contemporary ecological studies, and research data that really help understanding the current scenario and related concepts. Thank you Coursera for arranging such a great course along with American Museum of Natural History and Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

By Lawrence

Jul 29, 2021

Very enjoyable course - the lectures were informative and delivered with clarity, and Gorongosa was a very engaging case study. I was surprised that there were several references to the Hudson River mussels which I don't recall being covered in any detail, but other than that, the readings were very helpful in providing the background knowledge necessary to follow the lectures. I particularly enjoyed the mathematical modelling and would have loved understanding an approach which might be used to model zebra populations (i.e. very low populations where stochastic effects might dominate and the logistic growth curve does not hold).

By Nazerke B

Jan 22, 2020

I would like to thank all the researchers who participated in making this wonderful course! Started in a simple way, the classes then gradually presented more complex and in-sight issues and gave detailed explanation to ecological definitions in a most comprehensive manner. Given examples helped complete the understanding of different ecological situations. I enjoyed the documentaries and lectures of all researchers. Now I wish to one day visit Gorongosa National Park, as well as meet all these researchers who work so hard to conserve the nature of our home, Earth! Thank you again! Best wishes!

By Rosana F d S

Jun 17, 2022

O curso apresenta os conceitos fundamentais da ecologia e da biologia da conservação de forma prática. Como uma pessoa sem formação prévia na área, fiquei muito feliz por ter acesso a um conteúdo de qualidade, sucinto e ao mesmo tempo profundo. Recomendo esse curso a todos que queiram conhecer mais sobre as diversas abordagens da conservação em discussão atualmente e entender como ecólogos e biólogos da conservação aplicam seus conhecimentos para entender as dinâmicas existentes em ecossistemas complexos, como eles são afetados pela atividade humana e como isso pode vir a ser revertido.

By Leyla Y

May 11, 2020

This course changed the way I thought about ecosystems entirely and enabled for me to completely embrace the systems thinking idea. It was also very enjoyable and led me to realize my interest in ecology and also modelling ecological systems. It was very interesting to learn about how ecosystems can be approached differently and how the butterfly effect has a very significant place in ecosystem dynamics. Additionally, the way the concepts were given in readings followed by videos enforcing the ideas into the specific scenario made the learning more permanent.

By Karis D

May 6, 2020

Excellent foundational course in ecology with a fascinating case study component. I am an ecologist by training, and found this to be a great "refresher" course on ecological concepts and theorems. I especially enjoyed the closing lectures on biocultural conservation and sustainability--many ecology texts neglect the human component rather than emphasize it! I would strongly recommend this course to anyone seeking a basic understanding of ecological principles, or with a general curiosity about natural interactions.

By B J

Jan 9, 2021

I enjoyed the course it covered a lot of material from the basics to application. The lecturers were engaging and additional readings were informative. I worked in a reserve in E. Africa in the 70s so the political history and impact was interesting as something similar occured where I was. My only criticism, and I suspect this is only me, I wrote in long hand !! most of the readings and one lecture b/c they would not print - it took many additional hours - which, I guess shows my interest in the course.

By Paulette W

Nov 22, 2020

This course was very exciting for me. At first i really didn't know which course to do, but i saw this Ecology course and decided to try it. I have no regrets. I love the environment and this study has opened my eyes to so much that we humans tend to ignore. The lectures made each lecture simple and interesting for me thus making my course even more excited. I would definitely recommend this to all who has a passion for a balance in the use or our biodiversity and all ecosystems and the world at large.

By Julianna S

Jul 25, 2022

This course gives an excellent overview of the topic. Key points were explained succintly and I really enjoyed the examples the instructors included in the materials to hit the big ideas home. The quality of the lectures, notes, and qiuzzes were very high - it's clear that a lot of thought went into this course. I highly recommend this course to anyone with even a remote interest in the subject- I promise your appreciation for ecology and conservation will grow during and after taking this course.

By Rick B

Mar 10, 2021

Excellent course!

Dr. Ana Porzecanski is an awesome instructor and her dedication and interest in this work was obvious during her lectures.

The expertise of Dr.'s Robert Pringle, Eleanor Sterling, Corina Tarnita and others was on display and it was compelling. Paola Boulay's Gorongosa Lion Restoration video was fascinating. And the real time case study of Gorongosa, relevant examples, graphics and professional videos all made this course easily accessible and fun! Powerful content.

Thank you!

By Aleksandar M

Aug 2, 2022

Excellent introductory course to the wonderful world of ecology. Brief, yet very substantial at the same time. About 50 % of the content are presented in the form of written essays. That being said, the essays are really well written, not boring or tedious by any means, so even those who don't enjoy reading that much will be able to go through them easily. Lots of additional resources are offered. I would recommend this course to biology and ecology teachers. It's well worth the time.

By Zach S

May 5, 2020

Informative and well paced. I was apprehensive at first of how focused this course would be on Gorongoza, but the use of a single ecosystem as the reference point for all discussion topics really helped to paint a more complete picture of what needs to be considered in conservation efforts. The lectures were well presented and the wealth of additional resources for those who are curious was greatly appreciated. I was so engaged I finished it early and I never finish schoolwork early :P

By Carol P

Dec 22, 2020

I really enjoyed the course. It is so well sub-divided, which allows equal emphasis on each module and each topic. Examples have been provided wherever necessary that helps support the argument and enables to understand the situation better. The videos are very informative and the professors have explained the models and the hypothesis clearly. For a student like me who wishes to choose Restoration Ecology as a career, this course is a great start. Thank you to the AMNH and HHMI.

By Nicholas F

Jun 10, 2020

This was such a fun and informative course that reinvigorated my love for conservation science and ecology! I'm now fascinated with Gorongosa NP, as well as the two professors from Princeton that study there. I highly recommend this for any conservation professionals or students looking for a course to refresh your knowledge of ecology, while learning about patterns and processes that underlie this field of study as well as strategies for being effective in this field.

By Daniel J

May 6, 2020

Se pueden aprender aspectos muy importantes para entender la dinámica de distintas especies dentro de un ecosistema. Asimismo, cómo cada parte (seres vivos y elementos climáticos) está interrelacionada y debe ser conservada. Una de las partes más valiosas se encuentra en las semanas finales, donde se evalúa la participación del humano en los procesos de conservación y que en efecto es posible establecer una relación de beneficio mutuo entre ambas partes.

By Miahuatl K

Oct 4, 2020

I took Ecology and Evolutionary Biology introduction class at UCLA as an undergraduate about three years ago and this class was a quick effective review and summary that also added new and important information I had yet to learn. The years and images were very enjoyable and made it better to digest, understand, and visualize. The combination of lecture, video, and articles was a great approach. The quiz questions were all appropriately challenging.


Sep 9, 2021

Good overview of the concepts of ecology and conservation, their complicated natures, and how all parts of ecosystems (including humans) are intrinsically linked and even small changes can have significant and even unexpected cascading effects on the rest of the system. Liked the specific examples from Gorongosa and other scientific studies. Only complaint is that it is starting to become a little out of date as the latest info is from 2016/2017.


Feb 4, 2023

-I Enjoyed Doing This Very Interesting & Well-Presented Course On Ecology!

~It Has Made Me More Aware As To Why It Is Important For Us Humans To Respect/Coexist Responsibly/Caringly With Nature And The World Around Us .

=> I Thank Coursera For The Encouragment And Motivation Received To Complete This Module Inspite Of The Interruptions I Suffered Due To Cyclone Tauktae That Affected My Area(Goa) In May,2021. I Am Deeply Grateful-Much Appreciated!