Archived Versions

1.018J / 7.30J Ecology I: The Earth System

As taught in: Fall 2009

Satellite image of the Earth.

Ecology is the study of the structure and function of living systems. (Photograph courtesy of




Prof. Edward DeLong

Prof. Penny Chisholm

Course Features

Course Description

We will cover fundamentals of ecology, considering Earth as an integrated dynamic system. Topics include coevolution of the biosphere, geosphere, atmosphere and oceans; photosynthesis and respiration; the hydrologic, carbon and nitrogen cycles. We will examine the flow of energy and materials through ecosystems; regulation of the distribution and abundance of organisms; structure and function of ecosystems, including evolution and natural selection; metabolic diversity; productivity; trophic dynamics; models of population growth, competition, mutualism and predation. This course is designated as Communication-Intensive; instruction and practice in oral and written communication provided. Biology is a recommended prerequisite.