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Introducing the environment: Ecology and ecosystems

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What is ecology and why is it important to our understanding of the world around us? This free course, Introducing the environment: Ecology and ecosystems, looks at how we can study ecosystems to explore the effect that humans are having on the environment.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • construct a glossary of scientific terms;
  • make notes on what has been read and review these notes.

By: The Open University

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Introducing the environment: ecology and ecosystems


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This course starts by looking at ecosystems and at some of the living and non-living components they contain. We will then move on to look at the importance of being able to identify and name the living things in an ecosystem, and examine some of the ways in which we can start to record some of the interactions between them. But we must never forget that we ourselves are members of – and manipulators of – the ecosystems we inhabit. We are a part of the biosphere. We were produced by it; we live within it; and we are beginning to change it in ways we don't yet fully understand. The course will end by introducing the concept of ‘ecological health’, the idea that our growing exploitation of the resources of ecosystems is endangering their ability to support themselves … and us.

This OpenLearn course provides a sample of level 1 study in Environment & Development [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

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