GY1147 Physical geography: fundamentals of the physical environment.
Causal factors behind the global, regional and local patterns of distribution of flora and fauna, the processes which influence these patterns on local scales, and human impacts on floral and faunal patterns and processes.
These topics are grouped into five sections:
- Basic properties of ecological systems, the fundamental patterns of those systems in space and over time, and their linkage to global and local climatic patterns; the concept of functional groups.
- The role of the critical limiting factors of light, temperature, and water, their linkage to patterns of soil; biogeochemical cycling through ecosystems; the role of biological limiting factors on community structure, pattern and development over time.
- Distribution, structure and functioning of the major terrestrial forest ecosystems, grassland ecosystems and shrub-dominated ecosystems.
- Impacts of agroecosystems on the distribution and functioning of natural ecosystems; the ecological impacts of acid deposition and eutrophication and how these can be managed to reduce their ecological impacts.
- Ecosystems' responses to human-induced climate change, and the development of models of climate change and dynamic global vegetation models of these impacts.