Coursera courses on ecology

Coursera provides universal access to the world’s best education, partnering with top universities and organizations to offer courses online. Each course is like an interactive textbook, featuring pre-recorded videos, quizzes, and projects.


Ecology: Ecosystem Dynamics and Conservation

Instructor: Ana Luz Porzecanski, DirectorCenter for Biodiversity and Conservation.
Approx. 11 hours to complete | Suggested: 6 hours/week.

This course is an introduction to ecology and ecosystem dynamics using a systems thinking lens. Through a case study on Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park, learners will explore how scientists study ecosystems, and investigate the complex array of factors that inform management efforts. At the end of the course, learners will be able to grapple with real-world conservation questions, such as whether an ecosystem can recover from anthropogenic disruption and what role humans can, and should, play in that recovery.

https://www.coursera.org/learn/ecology-conservation


Understanding Plants – Part I: What a Plant Knows

Instructor: Professor Daniel Chamovitz, Ph.D., Dean, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences & Director, Manna Center for Plant Biosciences
Approx. 18 hours to complete | 25 hours of videos, quizzes, and reading assignments

For centuries we have collectively marveled at plant diversity and form—from Charles Darwin’s early fascination with stems and flowers to Seymour Krelborn’s distorted doting in Little Shop of Horrors. This course intends to present an intriguing and scientifically valid look at how plants themselves experience the world—from the colors they see to the sensations they feel. Highlighting the latest research in genetics and more, we will delve into the inner lives of plants and draw parallels with the human senses to reveal that we have much more in common with sunflowers and oak trees than we may realize. We’ll learn how plants know up from down, how they know when a neighbor has been infested by a group of hungry beetles, and whether they appreciate the music you’ve been playing for them or if they’re just deaf to the sounds around them. We’ll explore definitions of memory and consciousness as they relate to plants in asking whether we can say that plants might even be aware of their surroundings. This highly interdisciplinary course meshes historical studies with cutting edge modern research and will be relevant to all humans who seek their place in nature.

This class has three main goals: 1. To introduce you to basic plant biology by exploring plant senses (sight, smell, hearing, touch, taste, balance). 2. To introduce you to biological research and the scientific method. 3. To get the student to question life in general and what defines us as humans.

https://www.coursera.org/learn/plantknows


Understanding Plants – Part II: Fundamentals of Plant Biology

Instructor: Professor Daniel Chamovitz, Ph.D., Dean, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences & Director, Manna Center for Plant Biosciences
Approx. 8 hours to complete | Suggested: 6 hours/week

The follow-up of the above course. This class is aimed at people interested in understanding the basic science of plant biology. In this four lecture series, we’ll first learn about the structure-function of plants and of plant cells. Then we’ll try to understand how plants grow and develop, making such complex structures as flowers. Once we know how plants grow and develop, we’ll then delve into understanding photosynthesis – how plants take carbon dioxide from the air and water from soil, and turn this into oxygen for us to breathe and sugars for us to eat. In the last lecture we’ll learn about the fascinating, important and controversial science behind genetic engineering in agriculture.

https://www.coursera.org/learn/plant-biology


Animal Behaviour and Welfare

Instructors:
Professor Nat Waran, Professor of One Welfare / Eastern Institute of Technology, Napier, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. | Dr Fritha Langford, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) | Dr Heather Bacon, Veterinary welfare edcuation and outreach / Jeanne Marchig International Centre of Animal Welfare Education | Miss Hayley Walters, RVN, Welfare and Anaesthesia | Dr Jill MacKa, Animal Behaviour and Welfare Researcher, SRUC
Approx. 9 hours to complete | Suggested: 1-3 hours/week

Animal welfare has been described as a complex, multi-faceted public policy issue which includes important scientific, ethical, and other dimensions. Improving our understanding of animal welfare, involves the fascinating study of animal behavior as well as the challenge of accessing the emotions of animals. This is the On-Demand version of this course, which means you can start the course at any time and work through the course materials at your own pace. The materials and quizzes will always be available to you.

https://www.coursera.org/learn/animal-welfare


Ecology: from cells to Gaia

Instructor: Roberto Cazzolla Gatti, Ph.D., Associate Professor in Ecology and Biodiversity, Biological Diversity and Ecology Laboratory, Bio-Clim-Land Centre of Excellence, Biological Institute
Approx. 7 hours to complete | Suggested: 4 weeks, 2-3 hours

This course presents the principles of evolution and ecology for citizens and students interested in studying biology and environmental sciences. It discusses major ideas and results. Recent advances have energised these fields with evidence that has implications beyond their boundaries: ideas, mechanisms, and processes that should form part of the toolkit of all biologists and educated citizens. Major topics covered by the course include fundamental principles of ecology, how organisms interact with each other and their environment, evolutionary processes, population dynamics, communities, energy flow and ecosystems, human influences on ecosystems, and the integration and scaling of ecological processes through systems ecology. This course will also review major ecological concepts, identify the techniques used by ecologists, provide an overview of local and global environmental issues, and examine individual, group and governmental activities important for protecting natural ecosystems. The course has been designed to provide information, to direct the student toward pertinent literature, to identify problems and issues, to utilise research methodology for the study of ecology and evolution, and to consider appropriate solutions and analytical techniques.

Needed Learner Background: general biology and a good understanding of English. T

his course has the following expectations and results: 1) covers the theoretical and practical issues involved in ecology and evolution, 2) conducting surveys and inventories in ecology, 3) analyzing the information gathered, 4) and applying their analysis to ecological and conservation problems.

https://www.coursera.org/learn/ecology


And last but not least, a course for artists and activists:

ART of the MOOC: Activism and Social Movements

Instructors: Nato Thompson, Chief Curator at Creative Time | Pedro Lasch, Visual Artist and Associate Research Professor, Duke Art, Art History & Visual Studies.
Approx. 8 hours to complete | Suggested: 5 hours/week.

This course is for activists, artists, and thinkers who wish to better understand and participate in social change. We will focus on the prolific and exciting overlap between socially engaged art and cultural practices generated by recent social movements around the world. Rather than assess the political efficacy of activities like mourning, listening, organizing, dancing, or partying, the lectures examine such cultural activities next to, and within, contemporary art practice. Included in the course are guest presentations by key artists, activists, and scholars, like: Rebecca Gomperts, Chido Govera, Gulf Labor, Hans Haacke, Sharon Hayes, Jolene Rickard, Gregory Sholette, Joshua Wong, and many more. Designed by artist and Duke professor, Pedro Lasch and co-taught by Creative Time artistic director, Nato Thompson, the course challenges learners to treat the MOOC itself as a social and artistic form. This happens mostly through the practical components, local project productions, global exchanges, and critical feedback. While no prior art making or activist experience is required, projects also offer challenging options for advanced learners. For other course offerings or language versions in this series, just search ‘ART of the MOOC’ inside the Coursera course catalogue.

https://www.coursera.org/learn/activism-social-movements

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