Diversity of Life

Module Leader:
Péter Koncz
2017-2018 Spring
Natural Sciences

Life on Earth shows a beautiful variety. Organisms vary in size, complexity but all also in their role in the Earth’s natural cycles. Are you confident to differentiate plants, animals, fungus or bacteria? Are you aware of their function? During the course we will
classify species based on morphology, anatomy and DNA and for certain key species we will investigate their ecological role. We will see how human decreased the biodiversity of the Earth, threatening the functional stability of plant, animal and human communities. We will have a field survey – as a case study – where we will investigate the biodiversity of forest sites and we will identify the role of the different species in the forest. The aim of the course is to witness, study and gain an interdisciplinary knowledge about biodiversity, and about the consequences of its loss and how it changes in the Earth’s
biogeochemical cycle. During the course we will gain not only theoretical but practical and empirical knowledge about biodiversity and its functions. Participants will be able to think interdisciplinary, execute simple ecological calculations. Skills to develop methods as how to asses biodiversity, how to study the functions of the ecosystem’s and how to provide possible solutions for ecological problems should be gained. Course will not only be useful for future academic plant ecological, environmental courses but also it will provide insight how to became an environmental engineer, natural scientist or ecological-economist.