Ecosystems and Landscape Ecology

Ecosystems and Landscape Ecology

Ecosystems and Landscape Ecology


The Ecosystems and Landscape Ecology Area of Emphasis (E&LE-AOE) in the Graduate Group in Ecology (GGE) is designed to meet the needs of students who wish to earn a Masters or a Ph.D. degree in the study of ecological processes at scales between the organismal level and the global landscape. The program is intrinsically interdisciplinary and emphasizes the study of integrated dynamic systems, involving biological, physical, chemical, and cultural components of ecological systems. Members of the group take approaches that are both theoretical and applied, and involve the study of:

  1. Process dynamics through time, including energy and material flows in ecosystems;
  2. The interaction of ecosystem components at multiple levels of organization;
  3. How patterns and controls over ecological systems vary across space and through time;
  4. The importance of scale and scale-dependence in studying patterns and controls over ecological systems,
  5. Landscape modification and change; and
  6. Landscape ecology as applied to environmental planning. Students may choose to focus on theoretical and/or applied questions and to concentrate primarily on ecosystem ecology or landscape ecology, but all students will engage with core concepts of both fields.

Curriculum for Masters and Ph.D. Programs

The course requirements enumerated here are intended as guidelines. The E&LE-AOE recognizes the importance of designing a program to meet the highly diverse needs of individual students. In some instances students may find it beneficial to learn material on their own rather than through formal coursework. Such needs should be discussed with the student's Guidance Committee. The student's Guidance Committee must approve course requirements. Required and recommended courses are listed below.

AOE Required Course

One course that covers core concepts of ecosystem ecology and spatial scale. This course may be one of the following:

ECL 219- Ecosystem Biogeochemistry

PLS 163- Ecosystems and Landscape Ecology

Students may petition to substitute another course taken at UC Davis for this requirement. To be approved, the substitute course must provide a grounding in ecosystem and/or landscape ecology and associated issues of scale.  

2) One ECL 290 seminar that is focused on a topic of ecosystem or landscape ecology.

3) At least one course in or spatial analysis or modeling philosophy and technique (3-5 units). Suggested courses:

LDA 150 – Introduction to Geographical Information Systems

PLS 162 – Urban Ecology

ESM 185 - Aerial Photo Interpretation and Remote Sensing

ESM 186 - Environmental Remote Sensing

GEO 200CN – Quantitative Geography

LDA 280 – Landscape Conservation

ABT 182 - Environmental Analysis using GIS

ECL 204 - Population and Community Ecology

ECL 231 – Mathematical Methods in Population Biology

ECL 232 - Theoretical Ecology

ECL 233 – Computational Methods in Population Biology

HYD 142 - Systems Hydrology

WFC 122 - Population Dynamics and Estimation

WFC 222 - Advanced Population Dynamics


Troy Magney, Chair/Advisor, Plant Sciences