In this course, students will become familiar with the main theories of modern ecology. The course will begin by considering the importance of evolutionary theory for understanding ecology. Students will then learn how ecological communities are controlled by both extrinsic factors (physical environment, resources, competition with other species) and intrinsic factors (growth-rate, life history, dispersal), and to distinguish between “bottom-up” versus “top-down” controls. These concepts will be taught along a natural progression of scales, starting with individuals, to a population of individuals, to a community of populations. Students will learn how simple mathematical models can be used to understand ecological dynamics. In the final third of the course, these concepts will be put together as students learn about food webs and trophic cascades, species diversity, and the biogeochemical flow of energy and matter through ecosystems. Finally, the course will conclude with a consideration of how ecological knowledge can be applied practically to help solve environmental problems.