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General Ecology

Code: 52337
ECTS: 5.0
Lecturers in charge: prof. dr. sc. Zlatko Mihaljević - Lectures
Lecturers: Valentina Dorić, mag. biol. exp. - Practicum
doc. dr. sc. Marija Ivković - Practicum
Marina Veseli, mag. oecol. et prot. nat. - Practicum
Take exam: Studomat
English level:


All teaching activities will be held in Croatian. However, foreign students in mixed groups will have the opportunity to attend additional office hours with the lecturer and teaching assistants in English to help master the course materials. Additionally, the lecturer will refer foreign students to the corresponding literature in English, as well as give them the possibility of taking the associated exams in English.

1. komponenta

Lecture typeTotal
Lectures 30
Practicum 30
* Load is given in academic hour (1 academic hour = 45 minutes)

Students will be able to:
1. Describe the basic principles of ecology
2. Identify physical resources and explain the relationship between organisms and the physical environment
3. Record and explain species interactions
4. Assess key concepts of terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystem functioning
5. Recognize the negative aspects of human activity on the environment
6. Plan the experimental work in ecology



1. Definitions of ecology, objects and aims. Subdisciplines in ecology. Ecology as an interdisciplinary science. The abiotic factors and conditions for life; ecological valence.
2. Temperature as an ecological factor. The effects of temperature on organisms. Principles of heat transfer. Poikilotherms, homeotherms, and heterotherms.
3. Light as an ecological factor. Organism adaptations to light stimuli; circadian rhythms, photoperiodism and seasonality, bioluminescence.
4. Water and metabolic gases. Water cycles between Earth and the atmosphere. Moisture as an ecological factor. Organism adaptations for water balance. Oxygen and carbon dioxide in water and atmosphere.
5. Properties of populations; population density, dispersion, age structure, population growth and life history patterns. Patterns of population fluctuation. Metapopulation. Theories of population regulation.
6. Interspecific interactions; intraspecific and interspecific competition, ecological niche, the effects of competition. Symbiosis, mutualism, commensalism and amensalism.
7. Interspecific interactions; predation, predator and prey adaptations, the Lotka-Volterra model, functional and numerical responses to predation. Parasitism, parasites adaptations.
8. Community Structure, Biodiversity, ecotone and succession.
9. Ecosystem energetic, primary and secondary production and trophic structure.
10. Biogeochemical cycles; nitrogen, phosphorus, sulphur, carbon, oxygen and hydrogen.
11. Global environmental change (global warming, the ozone hole, acid rains and habitat loss).
12. Biomes and the major terrestrial ecosystems; tundra, grasslands, shrublands and deserts, taiga, temperate and tropical forests.
13. Structure and function of freshwater ecosystems; wetlands, streams and lakes.
14. The major features of marine ecosystems.
15. Synthesis and repetition.


1. Introduction
2. Dissolved oxygen in freshwater
3. Carbon dioxide in freshwater
4. Population age structure; demography
5. Spatial distribution of population
6. Predation; insect predators
7. Community structure; diversity indices
8. Community structure; similarity indices
9. Primary production
10. Secondary production part 1
11. Secondary production part 2
12. Basic plankton community properties: ideal plankton
13. Plankton adaptations
14. Specific adaptations to subterranean habitats
15. Morphological adaptations of benthic invertebrates to stream flow
  1. Mihaljević, Z., Opća ekologija. Nastavni materijali. www.pmf.unizg.hr/biol/predmet/opceko_c
  2. Smith, R. L., Smith, T.M., 2006. Elements of Ecology. Pearson, Benjamin/Cummings Science Publishing, ISBN 0-321-41029-7
  3. I. Ternjej, M. Kerovec, P. Tomev Mitrikeski, S. Jelenić, Z. Mihaljević, 2014: Živi svijet 4. Profil, Zagreb.
Prerequisit for:
Enrollment :
Passed : Fundamentals of Biology
Attended : General Microbiology

Examination :
Passed : General Microbiology
3. semester
Mandatory course - Mandatory studij - Environmental Sciences
Consultations schedule: