This course will explore topics in contemporary community ecology including a focus on invasion by non-native species.  General principles, current hypotheses, and specific case studies will be used to examine the relevance of invasion to community construction, resilience, and structure. Over the six weeks of this module, there will be:  4 x 2-3 hour lectures and, 1 x 3-hour slot for 30-minute presentations from student groups – based on a general research question, see below for examples.

Additional information:

Examples of lecture material:   History, economics and policies (international and national) of introduced species, Ecological theories of colonization and invasion,  Management techniques for invasives (e.g. biological control),  Terrestrial vs. Aquatic invaders – how different is their ecology? Invasives – case studies,  Are more diverse communities more likely or less likely to be invaded?

Examples of research questions:   Is it possible to screen for and predict which plant species will be invasive? Is it possible to screen for and predict which animal species will be invasive? Is species eradication a realistic goal for managing biological invasions? GMOIs it appropriate to consider s in the same ecological framework as non-native plant species?   What insights into the ecological structure and dynamics of communities have we learned from invasion biology research?

Faculty Resources: 

Dr D. Bazely, Dr N. Yan,Dr R. Quinlan, Dr C. Lortie.   The course will be co-taught in pairs every year in rotation.


(1) Presentation.  25%.

Work in small groups to develop a 30-minute presentation about a research question (see list of examples).

(2) Research Paper 75% 

Research and write a paper (minimum 10 pages) on an invasive species, a hypothesis, or the implications of invasion on community theory.

Bibliography:  We will analyze and discuss articles and review papers from the peer-reviewed primary literature, including the following periodicals:

Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics; Aquatic Invasions; Biological Invasions; Conservation Biology; Ecography; Ecological Monographs; Ecology; Ecology Letters; Ecosystems; Evolution; Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment; Global Change Biology; Global Ecology and Biogeography; Journal of Applied Ecology; Journal of Ecology; Journal of Biogeography; Oecologia; Oikos; Nature; PlosOne; Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences (USA); Science; Trends in Ecology and Evolution