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Ecology of Land Vertebrates

Code: 44545
ECTS: 7.0
Lecturers in charge: izv. prof. dr. sc. Ivana Buj
Take exam: Studomat
English level:


All teaching activities will be held in Croatian. However, foreign students in mixed groups will have the opportunity to attend additional office hours with the lecturer and teaching assistants in English to help master the course materials. Additionally, the lecturer will refer foreign students to the corresponding literature in English, as well as give them the possibility of taking the associated exams in English.

1. komponenta

Lecture typeTotal
Lectures 45
Practicum 30
* Load is given in academic hour (1 academic hour = 45 minutes)
Learning outcomes

1. Analyse the fundamental ecological parameters, and growth and declines of terrestrial vertebrate populations, particularly birds, mammals and reptiles.
2. Interpret individual components of the ecology of terrestrial vertebrates.
3. Use the appropriate literature for the ecology of terrestrial vertebrates.
4. Explain the basic characteristics of the ecology of the terrestrial vertebrate fauna of Croatia.
5. Develop the ability to create ecological models from observations in individual groups of vertebrates.
6. Analyse the basic characteristics of individual ecological groups of vertebrates.
7. Research the scientific literature, and on the basis of the findings, to raise research questions and to design, prepare and implement a simple study and make conclusions on the responses to the research question.


1. Introduction to the ecology of terrestrial vertebrates.
2. Basics of quantitative ecology. Techniques of researching amphibians. Ecology of amphibians. Methods of researching in nature.
3. Population processes, regulation, density dependence and independence.
4. Use of space, territoriality, life space, manner of orientation; Population dynamics: natality, mortality, population density and age structure; Habitat and ecological niches of terrestrial vertebrates
5. Introduction of population analysis. Life tables (Krebs, Ecological methodology). Interspecies and intraspecies competition, models
6. Ecology of reptiles, role of ecothermic tetrapods in terrestrial ecosystems
7. Ratio of endothermy: ectothermy as ecological models
8. Introduction to the ecology of birds. Bird populations and communities. Nesting. Behaviour. Birds and climate change.
9. Basic characteristics of nesting as part of ecological biotic and abiotic factors. Variations in brood size and egg size. Nest pests.
10. Movement and migration of birds: residents, migrants
11. Bird protection. Red Book.
12. Basic methods and techniques of mammal research. Population assessment techniques.
13. Adaptation of mammals to the environment, hibernation, cyclicity, migration. Adaptation to environmental conditions (hibernation, aestivation, torpor), methods of thermoregulation in different groups of terrestrial vertebrates; Ecological characteristics of mammals in Croatia.
14. Issues in mammal research.

Practical exercises:
1. Methods to assess population size, ecological parameters such as growth, mortality, age structure, fecundity, fertility, sex ratios, density dependent growth.
2. How to calculate ecological parameters. Developing life tables.
3. Linear transects (program Distance)
4. Method to assess mammal population sizes.
5. Examples and developing population models for the owl Strix uralensis (RAMAS GIS) using last year's data (model and population parameters)
6. RAMAS GIS: Model in scientific papers
7. RAMAS GIS in practice (mammals, reptiles, birds).
8. Assessing population size program and population ecology (Krebs).
9. Basic principles of monitoring mammals using telemetry.
  1. Pough, F.H., Andrews, R.M. (2003): Herpetology. 3rd edition. Benjamin Cummings, 736 pp
  2. Gill, F.B. (2006): Ornithology. 3rd edition. Freeman & Co., New York, 766 pp
  3. Macdonald, D.W., Barrett, P. (1999): Mammals of Britain and Europe (Collins Field Guide). Harpercollins Pub Ltd, 312 pp
  4. Linzey, D.W. (2011): Vertebrate Biology. 2nd edition, Johns Hopkins University Press. 608 pp
  5. Pough, F.H., Janis, C.M., i Heiser, J.B. (2012): Vertebrate Life. 9th edition. Benjamin Cummings, 720 pp
  6. Krebs, C.J. (1998): Ecological Methodology. 2nd edition. Benjamin Cummings, 624 pp
2. semester
Mandatory course - Regular module - Terrestrial Ecosystems
Consultations schedule: