Theoretical Ecology

Theoretical ecology and population mathematical models represent a form of abstraction of all natural complexity, helping to understand the patterns observed in the field. This course seeks to introduce basic concepts in theoretical ecology through population mathematical models of unique populations and interactions. Thus, topics such as population growth models, interactions between species and theoretical concepts such as stability, and complex population dynamics will be addressed here:

1. Introduction

1.1. Presentation of teachers and students

1.2. Presentation of the course plan

1.3. Teaching-learning methodology

1.4. The subject in the curriculum and integration with other subjects

1.5. The subject in professionals’ and individuals’ training

2. Population model of unique species

2.1. density independent growth in discrete time and continuous time

2.2. density-dependent growth in discrete and continuous time

2.3. complex density-dependent dynamics

3. Competitive population model

3.1. Intraspecific competition

3.2. Interspecific competition

4. Population model of predation

4.1. Functional responses

4.2. generalist predator

4.3. Expert predator

5. Metapopulation models

5.1. occupancy fraction models

5.2. models of metapopulation dynamics  

Basic Information

60 hours


  • Gotelli N. 2009. Ecologia. Ed. Planta
  • Truchin, P. 2003. Complex population Dynamics: A theoretical/Empirical Synthesis. Princeton University Press
  • Roughgarden, J., May, R. & Levin, S.A. 1989. Perspectives in ecological theory. Princeton University Press


  • Loreau, M. 2010. From Populations to Ecosystems: Theoretical Foundations for New Ecological Synthesis. Princeton University Press
  • Case, T. 2000. An illustrated guide to Theoretical Ecology. Oxford University Press
  • May RM. 1981. Theoretical Ecology, 2nd edition. Oxford. Blackwell Scientific Publications
  • May RM. 2001. Stability and Complexity in Model Ecosystems. Princeton. Princeton University Press.
  • Vandermeer J. 1981. Elementary Mathematical Ecology. New York. John Wiley and Sons.
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