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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.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 The science of ecology
- 2 Ecosystems
- 3 Making notes
- 4 Identification and naming
- 5 Interrelationships
- 6 Mapping interrelationships
- 7 Ecological health
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
Introducing the environment: ecology and ecosystems
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
This free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Environmental Studies courses or view the range of currently available OU Environmental Studies courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Friday, 18th March 2016
Last updated on: Friday, 18th March 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
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