Ecology I: The Earth System

Satellite image of the Earth.

Ecology is the study of the structure and function of living systems. (Photograph courtesy of


MIT Course Number

1.018J / 7.30J

As Taught In

Fall 2009



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Course Description

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Course Description

We will cover fundamentals of ecology, considering Earth as an integrated dynamic system. Topics include coevolution of the biosphere, geosphere, atmosphere and oceans; photosynthesis and respiration; the hydrologic, carbon and nitrogen cycles. We will examine the flow of energy and materials through ecosystems; regulation of the distribution and abundance of organisms; structure and function of ecosystems, including evolution and natural selection; metabolic diversity; productivity; trophic dynamics; models of population growth, competition, mutualism and predation. This course is designated as Communication-Intensive; instruction and practice in oral and written communication provided. Biology is a recommended prerequisite.

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Edward DeLong, and Penny Chisholm. 1.018J Ecology I: The Earth System. Fall 2009. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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