Subject description

Set 1: Functional plant ecology

The set includes various aspects of the interactions between plants and the environment, their role in creating environment as well as their adaptations to the environmental conditions. In particular, the importance of plants for the regulation of environmental conditions and ecosystem services will be highlighted.

Set 2: Ecology of aquatic plants

This set will cover the latest findings on the role of aquatic plants in ecosystem, occurence of invasive alien species and usefulness of aquatic plants as bioindicators as well as the response of plants to environmental stresses. It will address the content of selenium concentration in selected Slovenian rivers, the effects of selenium on aquatic plants,  the ability of plants to uptake of selenium and the role of silicon in aquatic plants. The set will also cover the impact of global changes on aquatic ecosystems with an emphasis on aquatic plants.

Set 3: Vegetation

The set deals with the study of vegetation and elaborates the latest achievements and overview of the methodological development of science in the recent period. Special emphasis will be on the processing of large databases and application of numerical methods to address different research questions (phytogeographical, ecological, reasons for changes in the environment, etc.). In addition, we also noted the practical value of plant communities in defining habitat types and evaluation of changes in the environment.

Set 4: Species interactions

The set includes: (1) the introduction to ecology of interspecific interactions and functional relations in natural assemblages, (2) types and characteristics of direct interactions, (3) multispecies interaction complex (indirect interactions, (4) influence of altered interspecific interaction on ecosystem function (5) problem of alien species introductions to natural ecosystems, invasion naturalization process of alien species and ecology of invasion steps and (6) coevolution of coexisting species (The Red-Queen Hypothesis), vključujoč koevolucijo patogenov in gostiteljev.

Set 5: Ecology of mycorrhiza

Student will receive detailed knowledge on ecological aspects of mycorrhizal interactions that will include: i) formation and characteristics of mycorrhizal interactions in different climatic zones and ecosystems; ii) importance of mycorrhizal interactions at the level od plant and fungal communities, and iii) potential effects of climatic changes on the formation and function of mycorrhizal interactions. Students will also be introduced to the contemporary techiques applied the this field of research (metagenomes, artificial inteligence).

Set 6: Functional Biodiversity

Review of function of biodiversity in terrestrial ecosystems. Evolutionary base of animal population functions in land ecosystems. Function of some animal group ((Lumbricidae, Chilopoda; Mammalia) in some key ecosystem processes. Including of these groups in ecosystems management. Their endangerment and conservation in human dominated landscape.

Set 7: Freshwater ecology

Sed inclides the following topics: (1) Natural and anthropogenic changes in the aquatic ecosystems and their catchments: habitat change, pollution, land use, excessive exploitation of ecosystems and species, changes in water quantity, climate change, fragmentation of habitats, alien species.

(2) Establishing relationship between environmental changes and assemblages in aquatic ecosystems; species responses of assemblages to environmental change, comparison of responses between different assemblages in the same environment, comparison of responses between similar assemblages in different environments; changes in diversity, composition, functioning; measuring responses with different tools, interpretation of responses.

(3) Assessing environmental changes and ecological status of aquatic ecosystems: typology of aquatic ecosystems; methods of assemblages comparison and classifications; type specific assemblages, reference state of a type-specific assemblage, development of assessment indices, indicative species, measuring deviation from the reference state (relations of ecological quality) as well as appropriateness of varied aquatic assemblages to assess the impact of the environmental changes, uncertainty at the ecological status assessment.

Set 8: Systems ecology

This part of the course is designed to introduce students to systems ecology which is a branch of ecosystem ecology. Systems ecology attempts to clarify the structures and functions of ecosystems by investigations at the levels beyond that of the individual and species through the application of general system theory and ecological modelling. The course consists of three main topics: ecosystem theory, concepts and modelling theory and application of modelling tools to selected case studies.

Set 9: Molecular ecology

We will introduce the field of molecular ecology and its enormous potential for ecological research. We will use real-world examples to introduce the students to modern molecular-ecology methods: population size estimates through noninvasive genetic sampling, recognition of spatial structuring and migration from distribution of genotypes, use genetics to understand development of quantitative traits and genetic barcoding to assess biodiversity. We will explain the relation between genetic diversity and survival of a population/species, genetic background of population viability and the problems that plague small populations.

The subject is taught in programs

Objectives and competences

Set 1: Functional plant ecology

Knowledge on plant adaptations in different environments. The awareness that specific functional plant traits optimize the input of energy and cyclyng of matter in the ecosystems and that any disturbance or pressure affect efficiency and result disturbances in  ecosystem functioning.

The awareness of inter-relations between plants and environment as a basis for sustainable management of plants and ecosystems (agriculture, forestry). The knowledge on the use of plants for alleviation of changes in the environment.

Set 2: Ecology of aquatic plants

Acquaintance with the latest literature on the role of macrophytes as biondicators and the invasive potential of allien species. To provide students with the latest knowledge in the field of the ability of water plants, to uptake of selenium. and knowledge of the metabolism of selenium. To acquaint students with the importance of silicon for aquatic plants. To acquaint students with the impact of global changes on aquatic ecosystems.

Set 3: Vegetation

The knowledge about vegetation as a component of the biosphere built by plant communities and is one of the basic part of most terrestrial ecosystems. These are parts of the landscape, both natural and cultural, which constitute the environment in which appear living beings. Knowledge of vegetation helps us understand the landscape, but also the environment of living beings, who (co-)create it.

Set 4: Species interactions

The development of critical thinking about ecosystem functioning, evolution and ecosystem conservation in regard to biotic interactions. As a key example the problem of invasive alien species is set, which are recently one the most important environmental problems on the field of ecosystem conservation and economic exploitation of natural resources. The subject is aimed to enhance basic knowledge on ecological principles regarding ecosystem structure and function regarding biotic environmental factors from the basic and applicative points of view.

Set 5: Ecology of mycorrhiza

Students will acquire knowledge and skills for work with mycorrhizas. This will enable them to plan and to carry out research in the field of ecology of mycorrhiza. With this in mind, student will be introduced to the current state of the art in the reasearch t.i. metagenomes, artificial inteligence, which will enable critical thinking about these technique and the current state of this research field.

Set 6: Functional Biodiversity

Acquaintance of students with the latest knowledge on the role of biodiversity, to understanding of evolutionary base of biota development and development of functional ecosystems. To improve the important of science knowledge into sustainable management of land ecosystems. To be able to identified treats to biodiversity and found adequate solutions for their conservation.

Set 7: Freshwater ecology

Basic educational aims: (1) understanding the response of aquatic ecosystems on natural and anthropogenic environmental changes, (2) knowing of the most recent methods of community-based ecological status assessment methods of aquatic ecosystems, (3)understanding of the ecosystem approach in the water management.

Sklop 8: Systems ecology

The aim this part of the course is to provide systems approach to the knowledge about the characteristics of the structure and functioning of the ecosystem for the purpose of explanations, predictions and management.

Set 9: Molecular ecology

To provide the students with the first glimpse into the rapidly developing field of molecular ecology. To introduce the modern research methods that have been fort the last couple of decades redefining the limits of what can be done in ecological research.

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, consultations, seminar, discussion

Expected study results

Set 1: Functional plant ecology

The students gain understanding on responses of plants to environmental factors and their role in shaping and maintenance favourable environmental conditions. They get acquainted with the plasticity of plant response in different environment and its deterioration due to unexpected changes. They are aware of the optimization of the structure and function of plants as a part of the complex system.

Set 2: Ecology of aquatic plants

Students will recognise the role of aquatic plants in ecosystem, and the characteristics of aquatic plants as bioindicators. Students will be familiar with the most common invasive non-native aquatic plants and their invasive potential and threat to native flora.They will learn about the latest findings on the ability of aquatic plants to uptake of selenium.. Students will learn about the importance of silicon for aquatic plants. Students will learn about the possible impacts of global changes on aquatic ecosystems, emphasising aquatic plants.

Set 3: Vegetation

Students will become familiar with contemporary approaches to the study of vegetation that will allow them to reseach in this field and possible results achieved with this methodology. In addition, they will learn about the possibilities available to the vegetation surveys to provide the designation of the environment of the individual living beings and for understanding of the landscape as a whole.

Set 4: Species interactions

Students will be stimulated to research thinking at the field of studies of interspecific interactions and there interconnection at different levels of ecosystem research. An important issue is that students will be able to include different interspecific interaction aspects into formation of scientific questions in applicative as well as basic studies in order to incorporate greater complexity approach into research problem solutions.

Set 5: Ecology of mycorrhiza

Understanding of functioning of mycorrhizal interactions and their distribution across different climate zones and ecosystems. Awareness of the importance of mycorrhizal interactions on community level, Potential impact of climate changes on the formation and functioning of mycorrhizal interactions

Set 6: Functional Biodiversity

The students gain understanding about the development of biodiversity and the role of diversity for ecosystem function. They will complete their knowledge on function of some animal groups in terrestrial ecosystems. They will integrate biological knowledge that will enable them to understand holistic approach in sustainable environment management. They will gain knowledge on factors with negative influence on conservation status of biodiversity and possible effective meassures for its conservation.

Set 7: Freshwater ecology

The envisaged learning outcome is to qualify a candidate for work with the methods and tools dealt with, which the candidate can use in basic and applicative research of aquatic ecosystems and their management.

Set 8: Systems ecology

Students will obtain methodological skills that will allow them to acquire new knowledge about the behavior of the studied ecosystems, they will be able to predict its behavior and to structure the acquired knowledge into a form suitable for the management of ecosystems.

Set 9: Molecular ecology

The students will gain an insight into the field of molecular ecology and the opportunities it provides. They will get an overview of modern research methods and the solutions they offer. In this manner they will extend their knowledge of research tools. With additional study they will be able to utilize this knowledge in their own research.

Basic sources and literature

Funkcionalna ekologija rastlin/ Functional plant ecology

Larcher, W., 2003. Physiological Plant Ecology. 513 pages, Springer, 4 edition, ISBN: 3540435166

Schulze, E.-D., Beck, E., Müller-Hohenstein, K., 2006. Plant Ecology. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York, 680 pages. ISBN: 354020833

Dusenge, M.E., Duarte, A.G., Way, D.A., 2019. Plant carbon metabolism and climate change: elevated CO2 and temperature impacts on photosynthesis, photorespiration and respiration. New Phytol, 221: 32-49.

Quijas, S., Schmid, B., Balvaneraž, P. 2010. Plant diversity enhances provision of ecosystem services: A new synthesis. Basic and Applied Ecology Basic and Applied Ecology 11 (2010) 582–592010,DOI: 10.1016/j.baae.2010.06.009

Revija/Journal: Plant Ecology, Springer.


Ekologija vodnih rastlin / Ecology of aquatic plants

Falkowski, P.G., and Raven, J.A. 2007. Aquatic photosynthesis. Princeton University Press, ISBN -10: 0-691-11551-6, str. 1-201, 319-364.

Germ, M., 2013. Biologija vodnih rastlin: učbenik. Ljubljana: samozal.. 78 str., ISBN 978-961-276-921-5.

Dodds W. K.  in M.R. Whiles, 2020.  Freshwater Ecology Concept and environmental applications of limnology. Third Edition. Academic press, Elsevier. 981 pages. ISBN: 978-0-12-813255-5

Revija/Journal: Aquatic Botany, Elsevier.


Vegetacija / Vegetation

Čarni, A. 2019. Pregled gozdnih združb Slovenije, Univerzitetna založba Univerze v Mariboru..

Maarel van der, E., Franklin, J., 2013. Vegetation ecology. John Wiley & Sons, Chichester.

Revija/Journal: Journal of Vegetation Science, Wiley


Medvrstni odnosi / Species interactions

Begon, M., C. R. Townsend, Harper, J. L., 2006. Ecology. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford.

Kryštufek, B., 1999. Osnove varstvene biologije. Tehniška založba Slovenije, Ljubljana.

Lockwood, J. L., Hoopes, M. F., Marchetti, M. P., 2007. Invasion Ecology. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford.

Tokeshi, M., 1999. Species coexistence, ecological and evolutionary perspectives. Blackwell Science, Oxford.

Tome, D., 2006. Ekologija: organizmi v prostoru in času. Tehniška založba Slovenije, Ljubljana.

Tscharntke, T., Hawkins, B.A., 2002. Multitrophic Level Interactions. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Revija/Journal: Journal of Animal Ecology, Wiley


Ekologija mikorize / Ecology of mycorrhiza

Souza, T., 2015.  Handbook of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi, Springer, Berlin

Asiegbu, F.O., Kovalchuk, A. (2021) Forest Micriobiology: Tree Microbiome, Academic Press, London

Shah MA (2014) Mycorrhizas: Novel Dimensions in the Changing World, Springer, Berlin


Funkcionalna biodiverziteta / Functional Biodiversity

Naeem, S., Bunker, D. E., Hector, A., Loreau, M., Perrings, C. (Eds), 2009. Biodiversity, Ecosystem Functioning, and Human Wellbeing : An Ecological and Economic Perspective. Oxford University Press, Oxford, United Kingdom.

Loreau, M., Naeem, S., Inchausti, P. (Eds), 2002. Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning: Synthesis and Perspectives. Oxford University Press, Oxford.


Ekologija celinskih voda / Freshwater ecology

Moss, B. 2018. Ecology of Freshwaters. Earth's Bloodstream. 5th Edition. Wiley.

Allan, J.D., Castillo, M.M., 2007. Stream Ecology: Structure and Function of Running Waters, 2nd Ed. Springer.

Lawton, J.H., 2000. Community Ecology in Changing World. In: Kinne O (ed) Excellence in ecology. Book 11. International Ecology Institute, Oldendorf/Luhe.

Legendre, P., Legendre, L., 1998. Numerical Ecology. 2nd Ed. Elsevier Science.

Revija/Journal: Hydrobiolgia, Springer


Sistemska ekologija / Systems ecology

Nielsen, S. N., Fath, B.D., Bastianoni, S., Marques, J. C., Müller, F., Patten, B.C., Ulanowicz, R.E., Jørgensen, S.E., Tiezzi, E., (Eds.) 2020 A New Ecology (Second Edition), Elsevier.

Jorgensen, S.E., 2012. Introdu.ction to Systems Ecology (Applied Ecology and Environmental Management). CRC Press.

Jørgensen, S.E., Fath, B.D., 2011. Fundamentals of Ecological Modelling : Applications in Environmental Management and Research. Developments in Environmental Modelling. Amsterdam [etc.]: Elsevier.

Von Bertalanffy, L., 2009. General systems theory. 17 izdaja, George Braziller.

Revija/Journal: Ecological Modelling, Elsevier.


Molekularna ekologija / Molecular ecology

Frankham, R., Ballou, J.D., Briscoe, D.A., 2002. Introduction to Conservation Genetics. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Allendorf, F.W., Luikart, G.H., Aitken, S.N., 2012. Conservation and the genetics of populations. John Wiley & Sons.


Pri vseh sklopih tudi revijalni članki s področja, tekoča periodika ter druga učna gradiva / In all set salso scientific articles in the field of ecology, current periodicals and other learning materials

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