Adaptation to Human Environments
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Area of Study
Anthropology, Ecology, Social Ecology
Taught In English
Course Level Recommendations
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Recommended U.S. Semester Credits3
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units4
Hours & Credits
This course addresses the potential and realized adaptation of organisms to human impacted environments. We will focus on a number of distinct types of anthropogenic environments that are globally widespread and that are rapidly replacing natural environments through agriculture, industry and urbanization. We will consider how this has led to the formation of an evolutionary novel type of habitat: the anthropogenic environment and discuss differences as well as similarities between natural and anthropogenic habitats. Next we will identify important selection pressures that are likely to be key drivers of anthropogenic biodiversity. The final aim of the course is to understand whether and how organisms adapt to human-altered environments and to use this knowledge to improve, or manage biodiversity.
At the end of the course the student can:
a) Apply theory on community ecology to understand anthropogenic biodiversity
b) Explain how species adapt to specific types of human activities
c) Understand the planetary boundary principle and describe benefits of biodiversity
d) Design and carry out research on adaptation in human environments
- comparing anthropogenic and natural environments
- urban ecology / agroecology
- biodiversity of anthropogenic habitats
- planetary boundaries
- genetic adaptation
- developmental plasticity
- behavioural flexibility
- species interactions - sensory pollution
Lectures, Seminar and/or practicals (t.b.d.)
TYPE OF ASSESSMENT
Written examination Oral and/or written assignment (t.b.d.)
RECOMMENDED BACKGROUND KNOWLEDGE
All preceding ecological courses in the curriculum.
Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.
Some courses may require additional fees.