Module Handbook

  • Dynamischer Default-Fachbereich geändert auf BIO

Course BIO-POS-13-K-5

Ecology of Species Interactions (S+T, 3.0 LP)

Course Type

SWS Type Course Form CP (Effort) Presence-Time / Self-Study
- K Seminar with exercises (S/U)
- S Reading course 2.0 CP 10 h 50 h
- T Tutorial 1.0 CP 6 h 24 h
(S+T) 3.0 CP 16 h 74 h


CP, Effort 3.0 CP = 90 h
Position of the semester 1 Sem. in WiSe
Level [5] Master (Entry Level)
Language [EN] English
Area of study [BIO-MBO] Molecular Botany
Livecycle-State [NORM] Active

Possible Study achievement

  • Verification of study performance: continuous and active participation in the courses
  • Details of the examination (type, duration, criteria) will be announced at the beginning of the course.


− How do species interactions shape ecological patterns & processes?

− How to read a scientific paper and grasp its concepts?

− We will hear introductory and ad-hoc lectures, read scientific papers, and discuss them: The seminar/tutorial addresses multiple forms of antagonistic, collaborative, and higher–order species interactions by thorough reading and presentation of selected articles, both classical and contemporary ones. Key topics include (i) herbivory and plant defense, (ii) chemical ecology and behavioral ecology of foraging, (iii) food web ecology, (iv) facultative and obligate mutualisms, (v) facilitation, (vi) ecosystem engineering, (vii) human impacts on plant animal interactions, (viii) biodiversity and community biology. The objective of the course is not only to familiarize with and extract the theoretical ecological concepts but also to understand the design and analytic tools necessary for conducting a scientific research project.

Competencies / intended learning achievements

Professional competence:

− Understanding pertinent scientific concepts in ecology.

− Identify the key ideas as well as the theoretical and experimental approach of ecological studies.

− Familiarize with seminal papers and widely cited publications in the field.

− Reading and scientific writing skills.

− Interpreting research findings and their implications.

Methodological competence:

− Critical reading of scientific texts, preparation and putting together presentations, discussion and communication skills, ability to simplify complicated topics and ideas and to identify their key aspects.

Social competence:

− Improvement of teamwork skills; learning to present published knowledge and own ideas to an audience.

− Develop the ability to discuss scientific issues with other students and the teacher and explaining complex concepts.


− Acquirement of scientific knowledge by self-responsible reading of English research literature, and identifying points that require further explanation.

− Critical evaluation of current research data.

Intended Learning Outcomes:

On successfully completing the module students will be able to…

− improve their knowledge in the field of ecology, behavioral biology, evolutionary biology.

− read and understand specialist English literature (research papers and reviews).

− summarize and discuss orally research papers.


Herrera CM, Pellmyr O (2002) Plant–animal interactions. An evolutionary approach. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK;

Gurevitch J, Scheiner SM, Fox GA (2006) The Ecology of Plants. 2nd edition. Sinauer Associates, Inc., Sunderland;

Howe & Westley: Ecological Relationships of Plants and Animals - Oxford University Press (see also German edition: Anpassung und Ausbeutung – Spektrum)


Will be provided at or prior to the beginning of the course

Requirements for attendance (informal)

Bachelor-grade knowledge in zoology, botany, statistics, plant physiology

Requirements for attendance (formal)

Admission to the Master Program ‘Biology’

References to Course [BIO-POS-13-K-5]

Course-Pool Name
[BIO-LR_all-KPOOL-5] Lecture & Reading Course - all
[BIO-LR_Eco-KPOOL-5] Lecture & Reading Course: Eco