701-0305-00L  Vertebrate Ecology

SemesterAutumn Semester 2017
LecturersW. Suter, J. Senn
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionGerman


AbstractThe course offers an overview on the ecology and conservation biology of birds and mammals. Important concepts from physiology, behavioural ecology, population biology, biogeography and community ecology will be linked to applications in conservation and management. A worldwide perspective will be complemented by a focus on the Central European fauna and its dynamics.
ObjectiveThe students are familiar with important topics in animal ecology, with an emphasis on birds and mammals. They are able to link theoretical concepts with visible ecological phenomena, and view them against an evolutionary backdrop. They can thus appraise applied aspects of the conservation and the use of animal populations, such as the influence of larger predators on prey populations or of herbivores on vegetation, the effects of hunting, landscape change, or of other human influences on animal populations. They understand the biogeographical characteristics of the Central European vertebrate fauna and its temporal and spatial dynamics.
ContentThe course deals with a number of main topics that include feeding and resource use, spatial behaviour and migrations, reproduction, population dynamics, competition and predation, parasites and diseases, biodiversity and distributions, and dynamics of the Central European fauna. There is an emphasis on linking theory with management issues in conservation and management of wildlife populations. During the first half of the course, examples will be drawn worldwide whereas during the second half, the course will focus more strongly on the European fauna, particularly of the Alpine region. Although the course is not designed to teach natural history of the native species, examples will cover much of the taxonomic breadth of the European fauna. Students are expected to read one paper and to present it to the audience. In addition, an optional field trip will be offered on a weekend during the semester (2 days in the Swiss National Park: probably 14-15 October).
For the detailed program, see the German text.
Lecture notesLecture notes will be available.
LiteratureLiterature will be listed in the lecture notes, and papers to be presented will be distributed if needed. Some books relevant to the course are (optional reading):

- Suter, W. 2017. Ökologie der Wirbeltiere. Vögel und Säugetiere. UTB/Haupt, Bern. This book is based on the course. It will be published in September 2017, but for the time being only in a German edition.
- Fryxell, J.M., Sinclair, A.R.E., & Caughley, G. 2014. Wildlife Ecology, Conservation, and Management. 3rd ed. Wiley Blackwell, Chichester, UK.
Prerequisites / Notice- Everybody will be expected to present a scientific paper in class, to be chosen from a list given.