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Course, academic year 2019/2020
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Introduction to animal tropical ecology - MB162P08
Title in English: Introduction to animal tropical ecology
Czech title: Úvod do tropické ekologie živočichů
Guaranteed by: Department of Ecology (31-162)
Faculty: Faculty of Science
Actual: from 2015
Semester: summer
E-Credits: 3
Examination process: summer s.:
Hours per week, examination: summer s.:2/0 Ex [hours/week]
Capacity: unlimited
Min. number of students: unlimited
State of the course: not taught
Language: English
Level: specialized
Explanation: V akademickém roce 2016/2017 NEPOBĚŽÍ
Note: the course is taught as cyclical
Guarantor: RNDr. Ondřej Sedláček, Ph.D.
Annotation -
Last update: RNDr. Veronika Sacherová, Ph.D. (08.10.2014)
The aim of the course is to provide insight into fundamental ecological mechanisms operating in tropical environments and underline major differences between tropical and temperate zone. The lecture focuses on different levels of organisation of ecological systems from diversity in life histories through to community ecology and processes operating on continental scale. Knowledge of basic concepts of tropical ecology is necessary for understanding of ecological patterns in general. Particular topics are illustrated mostly on terrestrial vertebrates.
Literature - Czech
Last update: VSACH (02.05.2006)

Newton, I. 2003: The Speciation and Biogeography of Birds. Academic Press, London.

Primack, R. & Corlett, R. 2005: Tropical Rain Forests: An Ecological and Biogeographical Comparison. Blackwell Publishers, Oxford.

Stutchbury, B. J. M. & Morton E. S. 2001: Behavioral Ecology of Tropical Birds. Academic Press, London.

Requirements to the exam - Czech
Last update: RNDr. Ondřej Sedláček, Ph.D. (26.10.2011)

Zkouška je ústní, předchází jí samostatné studium článků z tropické ekologie. Přesnější téma je vždy upřesněno a student se musí zůčastnit společné diskuse, která se koná poslední hodinu výuky.

Syllabus -
Last update: VSACH (02.05.2006)

The Importance of Tropics

geographical delimitation, basic description, uniqueness, types of tropics and dominant groups of organisms (Paleotropics vs. Neotropics), tropical bioms (climatic conditions, vegetation structure, typical ecological processes)


distribution of species richness on the Earth, why is there are so many species in the tropics (effect of area, climatic stability, history, energy availability, mid-domain effect, heterogeneity of environment), levels of biodiversity (alpha, beta, gamma), comparison of biodiversity of particular bioms (rain forest, savannah, mountains), theories explaining species richness of tropical rain forest, diversity on higher taxonomical levels, undiscovered tropics – hidden diversity, new species


continental drift, glacial and inter-glacial periods (differences from temperate zone), fragmentation and isolation of habitats (effect on speciation and extinction), the importance of mountains for evolution of biodiversity during Pleistocene, endemism

Community structure

distribution of body sizes in community, Energy Equivalence Rule, energetic definition of fitness, metabolic theory, guild distribution and dominance, territory sizes, latitudinal gradient in range size

Life Histories

Fishes and Amphibians – adaptations, brood care, Birds – clutch size, timing of breeding, song activity, number of breeding attempts, nest shape (role of availability of resources, climatic conditions, predation), metabolism and hormonal regulation of reproduction

Feeding Specialisation

frugivory – the importance for diversity of tropical forest, commonness of frugivory in tropics, frugivorous groups; nectarivory – nectarivorous animals, convergence, pollination systems; insectivory – specialised taxonomical groups, ant followers; herbivory – phytophagous insects, effect of great herbivors on ecosystems

Behavioral Ecology

colonial vs. solitaire breeding, brood parasitism in birds, mating systems (birds, mammals), duet singing in birds, sexual dimorphism


origin of migratory behaviour in birds, costs and benefits, tropical way of life of temperate birds, migration of great mammals, migratory invertebrates, dispersion of species (exchange of North – South America faunas)

Biodiversity Conservation

biodiversity hotspots, habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation, impact of hunting on species extinction (“bushmeat”), species invasions and diversity, conservation of biodiversity vs. conservation of endangered species

Ecology of Afromontane Forest: A Case Study

Bamenda Highlands (Cameroon), location, habitat description, geological history, importance for species richness of West Africa, bird communities, endemism, key species, co-evolutionary relationship between Sunbirds and flowers, habitat fragmentation, conservation

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