Quantitative ecology

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
To learn how to apply quantitative methods in ecological researches and how to rigorously plan a research project
Expected learning outcomes
Application of quantitative methods in ecology and how to rigorously plan a research project
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
The 6 ECTS course includes 5 ECTS of theoretical aspects and 1 ECTS of practical activities with elements of theory. In the emergency phase, all 6 ECTS will be delivered remotely through synchronous, asynchronous activities and student working groups coordinated by the teachers. If possible, based on the evolution of the COVID-19 situation, it is also planned to provide some lesson (about 8 h) as face-to-face lectures or activities in the university's classrooms in 3 different times (at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the cours). During these face to face activities students will be able to discuss with the teachers and to solve problems and make exercises with teachers and tutors. Alternatively (i.e. if the COVID-19 situation does not allow face-to-face activities) these hours will be carried out remotely as activities of groups of students through the ZOOM and TEAMS platforms and supervised by the teachers.
More precisely the e-learning will be organized according to the following details:
- 5 ECTS will be provided synchronously via the TEAMS platform (alternatively via ZOOM)
- 1 ECTS will be provided asynchronously as audiovideo and audiolections made available by the teachers through the didactic site of the course located on the ARIEL platform.
During the emergency phase, the final exam will be proposed via web as an oral test (via the TEAMS or ZOOM platform).
During the tests, the student cannot consult books, manuals or notes except for the mental / conceptual maps for DSA certified students only and who have agreed on the compensatory tools with the teachers.
Course syllabus
Problems and opportunities from a quantitative approach to ecological studies: planning a research program, reverse planning, basic concepts in statistics.
Application of multivariate statistical methods to ecological data: cluster analysis, principal component analysis, redundancy analysis and canonical correlation, analysis of variance, regression, introduction to generalized linear models.
Design and analysis of experiments: sample size determination, non-parametric methods, randomized block designs.
Sampling and census methods: introduction to sampling theory, capture-mark-.recapture methods, transects, abundance indices.
Population growth models, life tables and survival curves, Leslie and Lefkovitch matrices, intrinsic growth rate, continuous and discrete propulation growth models.
Growth models for interacting populations: Lotka-Volterrra models, predator-prey models, cooperation and the Allee effect.
Introduction to the R statistical software and its use.
Descriptive statistics and graphs with R.
Cluster analysis, principal component analysis, redundancy analysis with R.
Analysis of variance with R.
Regression analysis with R.
Generalized linear models with R.
Prerequisites for admission
This is an advanced course that requires basic knowledge in both ecology and statistics. Ecological background is taken for granted (but notions can be recalled by the teacher if necessary). Statistical background is recalled during the first part of the course.
Teaching methods
This course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including:
Practicals where exercise are solved under the supervision of the teacher
Individual and/or Team Projects
Teaching Resources
Eberthardt L.L A course in quantitative ecology (http://www.afsc.noaa.gov/nmml/library/resources/pdf/Quantitative_Ecolog…)
Sutherland WJ (ed.), Ecological census techniques Cambridge University Press
Smith TM & Smith RL, Elementi di ecologia (6a ed.) Pearson
Kokko H Modelling for field biologists and other interesting people. Cambridge University Press
Montgomery D.C. Progettazione e analisi degli esperimenti. McGraw-Hill
Assessment methods and Criteria
Computer practice test aimed at assessing the student's ability to analyze ecological data sets.
Oral test (question) aimed at assessing the understanding of the key concepts illustrated in the lessons. The following will be evaluated: the level of understanding and knowledge of the contents of the subject, ability
of critical reasoning, the quality of the exposure, the use of a specialized lexicon.
Marks out of thirty.
BIO/07 - ECOLOGY - University credits: 6
Practicals with elements of theory: 12 hours
Lessons: 40 hours
Professor: Ambrosini Roberto
Educational website(s)
Tuesday 10-12 am by appointment to be requested via email a few days before
tower C, 6th floor, Via Celoria 26