Review of On-line Lecture Course
This review appeared in the Plant Pathology Internet Guide Book
as a "Tip of the month", August 1997
Quantitative Population Ecology
Quantitative Population Ecology, by A. Sharov, Dept. of Entomology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, USA.
True online lectures for quantitative population ecology in 13 chapters
including Population systems and their components (1), Spatial
distribution of organisms (3), Statistical analysis of population dynamics
(4), Predators, Parasites, and Pathogens (10), Competition and
Cooperation (11), Dispersal and spatial dynamics (12), or Population
outbreaks (13). A lab section (including Parasitism and Biological
Control) completed this resource. All chapters come with examples to
explain the theoretical models.
Each chapter is extremly well organized and useful. The text is
accompanied by many figures and downloadable files. This site is an
absolute must for all teaching Population Ecology or students learning it,
but it should also not be missed by anybody else.
Summary: Highly recommendable, very useful education resource! It is
featured as a TIP in section "Teaching, Education & Courses" of PPIGB.
See the Readers's Review of this Website (below).
Teaching, Education & Courses:
Quantitative Population Ecology
reviewed by Dr. S. Vidal (15 August 1997)
The web site Quantitative Population Ecology, maintained by Alexei
Sharov at the Department of Entomology, Virginia Tech, containes 13
lecture handouts and 8 labs designed for a course of graduate students with
low level prerequisites in statistics and ecology. Beginning with a brief
introduction and definitions on population ecolgy, the following chapters
describe the methods to census population densities and sizes. This is
essential, because without a sound method of sampling all analytical
models on the population dynamics will be worthless. Thereafter, the
methods to analyse statistically population dynamics, the growth of
reproducing populations or life tables are introduced. With this tools the
students should be able to develop a simple Leslie model. The
understading of predator-prey models or the host-pathogen model is
essential for biological control programs; however the shortcomings and
extensions of the models are also mentioned. One lecture covers the
recently developed extensions of local population dynamics, the spatial
processes of populations, the diffusion models or metapopulation models.
The incorporation of these models will add a new dimension to the
understanding of population regulation (see for example J Roland & PD
Taylor, Nature 386: 710-713). Everyone, who is interested in the question,
why population outbreaks occurr, should read the final lecture on the
mechanisms of outbreaks and the underlying models and assumtions.
Although huge steps are made to understand the population dynamics of
eruptive populations since the very beginning, several questions remain
The chapters cover, although in a very abbreviated form, all basic models
presently discussed in population ecology and end with several questions
on the topics for the readers or students to reconsider the problems again.
The presentation of the text and the figures is informative and allows a
clear view. The web side created by A. Sharov is a state of the art
introduction in population ecology and is a must for those who are
interested in population ecology. Moreover it is highly recommended for
plant pathologists who want to know something about what is going on in
this branch of biology.
Dr. Stefan Vidal
Institut for Plant Diseases and Plant Protection
University of Hanover
Herrenhaeuser Str. 2
D - 30419 Hannover
Tel: + 49 511 762 2643
Fax: + 49 511 762 3015