Human Ecology I

Type of instruction




Part of degree program


Recommended in

Semesters 1-4

Typically offered in

Autumn/Spring semester

Course description

1. Introduction to human ecology, general characteristics of ecosystems, associated sciences, history of human ecology, definitions; ecosystems: biosphere, ecosystem types; ecosystem relationships, ecological division of the earth; ecological catastrophes, ecocrises; dynamics and stability of ecosystems; productivity of ecosystems  

2. Population ecology, dynamics of human populations, characteristics of populations: population density, birth rate, death rate, population structure, sexual rate, life expectancy, spatial structure  

3. Population genetics: Hardy-Weinberg law and equilibrium, mutation, selection, evolution, population dynamics, migration, controlling of overpopulation  

4. Mechanisms of the ecological and cultural adaptation, relationships of man and its environment: human adaptation to environment, modelling reactions, abiotic factors: light, temperature, air, water, soil, human adaptability (to artic zones, high altitudes, arid lands, grasslands, humid tropics); geo-physical factors

5. Biotic factors: interspecies interactions, interspecies interactions; human biorhythm, biological daily rhythm, yearly rhythms; cultural adaptation: evils of civilization, consequences of urbanization  

6. The role of environmental factors in secular growth changes; from cultural ecology to ecological anthropology (Steward’s cultural ecological method, the approach of ecological anthropology, the ethnoecological approach)  

7. Human influence on the biosphere: environmental modification by exploiting the environmental factors, environmental modification by burdening the environment, changes in ecosystems: changes in the microenvironment, in the soil, in the water balance, in the atmosphere  

8. Agents of human attendance: pesticides, waste and rubbish, radioactive radiation, magnetic influences, bioindication, environment and conservation  

9. Conventional ways of food acquisition, human ecological aspects of human nutrition, plant production, animal biological production, new/alternative resources for nutrition, supplementary nutrition, biosynthesis  

10. Human nutrition: energy needs, basal metabolic rate, essential nutrients, prenatal and postnatal development, physical activity, social aspects of nutrition: life style, social factors, diversity in human populations’ diet

11. Ecology of disease and illness: the environment and its influences and hazards to health; populational diversity in the infectious and non-infectious diseases’ incidence; biological responses (congenital and acquired) to the infectious and non-infectious diseases  

12. Parasitism: epidemiology, infections, invasions, diseases spreaded by parasites, parasites and parasitism  

13. Poisoning and allergiogenes; immunity; human diseases (schistosomiasis, filariasis, malaria, amoebiasis, cholera, diarrhoeal diseases, tuberculosis and leprosy, diphteria, veneral diseases, measles, smallpox, yellow feaver, bronchitis, influenza, industrial lung disease, illness associated with drug abuse, cardiovascular disease, mental disorders, malignant neoplasms, deficiency diseases), prevention  

14. Human ecological approach of the global energy balance problems: problems and perspectives, energy and substrate balance of the biosphere, information flow, human energy consumption, energy resources: types, conventional and alternative resources, advantages and disadvantages of the resources, environmental conservation

  • Dodd, J.R., Stanton, R.J. (1990) Paleoecology. Concepts and applications. John Wiley and Sons, New York.

  • Freye, H-A. (1985) Humanökologie. Fischer Verlag, Jena