This course is designed to facilitate students' understanding of how biotic and abiotic factors determine abundance and distribution of organisms in natural communities and how scientists study these phenomena. Principal ecological theory serves as a framework for the course. This course is also designed to facilitate student learning of laboratory and field techniques to make observations; design experiments; and measure and analyze information about the biotic and abiotic world. Exams and assignments are designed to assess if students have learned how to 1) analyze information across levels of ecological organization and apply what they learn to new situations, 2) critically evaluate published research, 3) develop sound ecological questions and hypotheses, 4) design and implement experiments to test hypotheses, 5) analyze and interpret data, and 6) communicate findings in written and oral format to the class and in a manner that would translate to the scientific community. The course is constructed as a combination of interactive discussions and activities designed to reinforce student engagement with an electronic textbook and field-based laboratory. Students will be outside for most laboratory sessions and are required to attend a weekend field trip. (Offered every year). Prerequisites: Biol 3313, 3113, Chem 2319, 2119. Strongly recommended: PSYC 2401 or MATH 1320.