Subject: Community Ecology

Scientific Area:



60 Hours

Number of ECTS:




Overall objectives:

1 - Community ecology concepts based on different terrestrial and marine habitats, with special emphasis on those in the Madeira archipelago.
2 - It is intended that students acquire a clear understanding of the ecological, evolutionary and biogeographic constraints of different habitats, especially in Insular Biota.


1 - Oceanography (physical, chemical and biological oceanography, marine trophic chains, nekton, deep sea, coastal habitats, benthos, estuaries, mangroves and coral reefs, ichthyology and fisheries biology, oceanic realm and marine top predators)
2 - Vegetation ecology (Raunkiaer types, naturalization status, Rabinowitz rarity types. Invading plants, management and conservation, phytosociology and landscape, landscape historical changes)
3 - Peculiar habitats (freshwater, high mountain, caves)
4 - Island ecology (defnition of islands, types of islands, Biodiversity hotspots, endemicity, how individuals reach the islands, dispersion versus vicariance, Insular biogeography - area and number of species, MacArthur & Wilson equilibrium theory, alternative models, invasive species, nonharmonic community concept, Adaptation to islands ...)
5 - Speciation and evolution in islands (the cases of adaptive and non-adaptive radiation, what is and their importance in the islands).


CARLQUIST, S. , 1974 , Island Biology. , Columbia University Press.
GORMAN, M , 1979 , Island Ecology , Chapman and Hall
NYBAKKEN, J. W. & BERTNESS, M.D , 2004 , MARINE BIOLOGY. An Ecological Approach. 6th ed. , Addison Wesley Longman
BEGON, M.; TOWNSEND, C. & HARPER, J. , 2006 , Ecology. From Individuals to Ecosystems , Blackwell Publishing
BERTNESS, M.; GAINES, S. & HAY, M. , 2001 , Marine community ecology , Sinauer Associates
CAPELO, J. et al. , 2007 , Biologia e ecologia das florestas das ilhas In: Silva, J. ed. "Árvores e Florestas de Portugal". , Público, FLAD,
CASTRO, P. & HUBER, M. , 2012 , Marine Biology , Harper & Row
COX, C.; MOORE, P. & LADLE, R. , 2016 , Biogeography. An Ecological and Evolutionary approach , John Wiley & Sons Ltd
DUVIGNEAUD, P. , 1974 , A Síntese Ecológica , Lisboa: Socicultur
SEQUEIRA, M.; JARDIM, R. & CAPELO, J. 2007 , 2007 , A Chegada dos portugueses às ilhas. In: Silva, J. ed. "Árvores e Florestas de Portugal". , Público, FLAD,
WHITTAKER, R. & FERNÁNDEZ-PALACIOS, J. , 2007 , Island Biogeography , Oxford University Press

Assesssment methods and criteria:

Classification Type: Quantitativa (0-20)

Evaluation Methodology:
The program content is covered in the form of theoretical and seminar sessions as well as field excursions, in every case field excursions will be preceded by theoretical and practical-theoretical sessions. In the field classes it will be considered methods of analysis of communities and the students will take knowledge "in loco" of the main communities of Madeira. Seminars will address case studies and there may be guest speaker conferences. The evaluation: two frequencies (each 30%) and the presentation of a seminar (40%) in groups of three students.