ehj351 lec_1 - 11/01/2011 What this course will be about:...

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11/01/2011 1 EHJ 351:The Ecology of Human Population Growth (Prof. Peter Abrams) January 11,2011 Lecture 1: Introduction to the course 1. What is the course about? Why did I develop it? 2. Course syllabus, marking, and other practical issues 3. Some facts about human population growth What this course will be about: The two most significant events in your life: These events are the basis of the science of ecology (and evolution) Charles J. Krebs definition: The scientific study of the distribution and abundance of organisms; birth, death (immigration & emigration) Relative birth and death rates of different types determines evolutionary change (whether by selection or genetic drift) Understanding birth and death rates and their ecological consequences allows you to understand (and predict) population growth or decline Why devote a whole course to birth and death in one species? It is your own species It is the species that is likely to have the largest effect on the population growth of any other species It illustrates the strengths and limitations of current knowledge in ecology and evolution The rate of change and future size of the human population will have big effect on your life. .. and your collective decisions determine that future size A few of the direct implications for humans CO 2 emissions are proportional to population size (as are most other drivers of environmental change) I = PAT Declining populations means fewer workers to support more retirees (expensive non-productive individuals) Increasing populations mean large numbers of children (expensive, non-productive individuals) per productive worker Rapid changes in population require rapid changes in infrastructure (houses, roads, taxes…) The textbook and its author Publisher’s blurb: With the world population now at 5.7 billion, and increasing by about 90 million per year, we have clearly entered a zone where we can see, and may well encounter, limits on the human carrying capacity of the Earth. In this penetrating analysis of one of the most crucial questions of our time, a leading scholar in the field reviews the history of world population growth and appraises what can be known about its future. U-tube video of Cohen discussing book: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEW8595IQqo
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11/01/2011 2 A little about me. .. B.Sc. Yale 1972; Ph.D. UBC 1975 (dual US/Canadian citizen) Started career as a marine ecologist; Gradually shifted to theoretical biology; Research on predation, competition, food webs. .. Now working on mathematical models of coevolution of interacting species and responses of biological communities to changed conditions Previous faculty positions: U. Minnesota; U. Maryland Only published work in human population biology is on the evolution of aging Have been interested in human population for a long time The beginning (1798) of thinking about
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This note was uploaded on 06/20/2011 for the course EHJ EHJ351 taught by Professor Peterabrams during the Spring '11 term at University of Toronto- Toronto.

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ehj351 lec_1 - 11/01/2011 What this course will be about:...

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