WLE introduction

We will be starting our semester in WLE by reviewing some core/basic ideas from general ecology.  These ideas are essential for our studies in WLE.  After our introduction we will discuss several historical ecological failures and current challenges that illustrate how important it is to understand WLE.

Wildlife Ecology Syllabus

Instructor: Mark Noam Meiri

Wildlife Management and Ecology

Wildlife ecology is the study of how and where animals live. We will study strategies for acquiring food and mates. We will learn how animals organize themselves spatially within their environment and why different strategies work best for different animals. We will explore, how animals organize themselves in different types of social groups, and the pros and cons of each of these strategies. We will then turn our attention to population management strategies and techniques being used to help ensure that these animals survive into the future. The students will use their knowledge of an animal’s physiology and ecology to understand which management techniques are best for which type of organisms.

After learning the technical vocabulary of ecology of different aspects of an organism’s natural history, the students will research these topics about 4 target organisms of their choosing. As the year continues they will continually add layers of detail to their research.

One of the goals of this course is to enliven the love of, and appreciation for, the beauty and complexity of the other animals that we humans share the Earth with. Also, as we study the techniques of species management, we will explore the ethical implications of how our actions affect the other species on the planet.


The general flow and content of this course is taken from Wildlife Ecology courses at the UW Madison and UC Berkley.


  1. General Ecology
  2. Wildlife Ecology
  3. Wildlife & Forest Management


  1. General Ecology
      1. Energy – Biomass Pyramid/ Trophic Levels
      2. Vocabulary: carnivore, herbivore, omnivore, predator, prey, niche, producer/photosynthesis, generalist/specialist, intra-specific/inter-specific, resource partitioning
  1. Wildlife Ecology
      1. Thermoregulation
      2. Water Budget
      3. Territoriality

                    4. Social Systems

                    5. Dispersion

                    6. Population Dynamics – Reproductive Patterns

                    7. Population Dynamics – Mortality and Survival

                     8. Population dynamics – Dispersal and Migration

                    9. Population Growth and Fluctuations

                    10. Population Regulation

                    11. Distribution Patterns

IIIa. Wildlife Management

A. Managing Wildlife?

          1. Why bother?
          2. Wildlife Management Defined

B. Two Approaches to Wildlife Management

          1. Population Approach
          2. Community Approach
      1. Managing a Sustainable Yield
      1. Overabundant Species

E. Why Save Rare Species?

IIIb. Forest Management and Species Protection.

          1. Classification of Protected US lands
          1. Sustainable forestry
          1. Endangered Species Act
          1. CITES – Red list

Materials and Grading

Students will need paper to take notes on as well as a folder to organize and keep worksheets.

Grades will be based on:

     Class participation – 20%

     Tests and Quizzes – 40%

      Research and opinion papers, Homework 40%

Honors credit is available for this class. In general honors will constitute about 20% more work.