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C Semester
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Objectives of the course (preferably expressed in terms of learning outcomes and competences): Adequate knowledge about mechanisms and processes in nature that take place in the ecological scale of time.

Course contents: Organisms: Organisms and the abiotic environment. Water. Light. Temperature. Climate. Nutrients. Soil. Geomorphology. Geological substrate. Law of the minimum. Theory of tolerance limits. Niche. Acclimation. Homeostasis. Interactions between abiotic factors. Interactions between organisms and abiotic factors. Populations: Population size. Population characteristics. Demography. Intraspecific relationships. Interspecific relationships. Life strategies. Population dynamics patterns. Metapopulations: Metapopulation approach. Metapopulation patterns and processes. Levins and Hanski models. Core-satellite hypothesis. Metapopulation genetics and evolution. Biocommunities: Biocommunity approach. Biocommunity structure and organization. The views of Clements and Gleason and the school of Zurich-Montpellier. The Gaia hypothesis. The modern synthesis. The concepts of biocommunity biodiversity and stability. Disturbances. Succession. Allelopathy. Growth forms. Resource allocation. RCS-strategies. Functional groups. Spatial and temporal patterns. Ordination and Classification techniques. Ecosystems: The ecosystem concept. Ecosystem structure, dynamics and management. Energy flow. Recycling. Biogeochemical cycles. Productivity. Systems theory. The role of biotic interactions and disturbance. Biomes. Terrestrial ecosystems of Greece. Mediterranean ecosystems. Desertification in Mediterranean countries. Global environmental problems: Biodiversity. Climate change. Pollution.

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The Department of Biology of the University of Crete was established in 1981 and is today an internationally recognized center for contemporary university education and research in the field of Biology.

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