Terrestrial Ecosystems

(Course Code: 125KEY, Course outline)

Semester: 5 Teaching Credits: 6 ECTS Credits: 7 Type:


Prerequisite Courses:  – Course type: Special background Instructor: Akriotis Triantaphyllos

Description of the structure and function of terrestrial ecosystems and their living organisms, as well as of their interactions. The understanding of the following topics: global vegetation zones (biomes), vegetation zones in Greece, productivity, soil, vegetation, fauna and flora, organisms on land in relation to abiotic (temperature, humidity, pH, snow, light) and biotic factors (predation, competition, symiosis and other interactions).

Topics per Week:

1. Intoduction, temperature, humidity

2. Global vegetation zones and ecosystems

3. Vegetation zones in Greece

4. Conditions: general. Temperature: general.

5. Ectotherms: regulation mechanisms

6. Endotherms: regulation mechanisms

7. Endotherm metabolism and energy balance. Metabolic rate and body size.

8. Temperature effects on population and species distribution. Humidity, snow, pH

9. Temperature as a stimulus – Light as a stimulus

10. Photosynthesis, compensation points. Photosynthetic energy balance and productivity

11. Resources: introduction. Defense mechanisms of plants and animals.

12. Grazing: effects on organisms, species and ecosystems.

13. Social systems in animals – space as a resource: territories and social systems.

Laboratory exercises:

1. Field trip: forest ecosystems

Theory – Lectures
(hours / week)
Exercises – Laboratories
(hours / week)
 5 hours in 1 session
Other Activities:  –
Grading: Final examination
Notes: Lecture notes, powerpoint presentations
Basic Textbook:
  •  Molles, M.C. Jr.  2009.  Ecology Concepts and Applications. 4th edn. McGraw-Hill, New York. [Greek translation]
  • Begon, M., J.L. Harper & C.R. Townsend.  2015.  Ecology:  individuals, populations and communities.  4th edn.  Blackwell. [Greek translation]
  • Pafilis, P. (ed.) 2020. The fauna of Greece – biology and management of wild fauna. Broken Hill Publishers Ltd.

Barbour, M.G., J.H. Burk & W.D. Pitts.  1987.  Terrestrial plant ecology.  Benjamin/Cummings Publ. Co., Menlo Park, California.

Begon, M., J.L. Harper & C.R. Townsend.  2005.  Ecology:  individuals, populations and communities.  4th edn.  Blackwell.

Emberlin, J. C.  1996.  Εισαγωγή στην οικολογία.  (Μετάφραση)  Τυπωθήτω, Αθήνα.

Fitter, A.H. & R.K.M. Hay.  1987.  Environmental physiology of plants.  Academic Press, London.

Krebs, C.J.  1978.  Ecology:  the experimental analysis of distribution and abundance.  2nd edn.  Harper & Row, New York.

Krebs, J.R. & N.B. Davies.  1987.  An introduction to behavioural ecology.  Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford.

McNeill Alexander, R.  1981.  The chordates. 2nd edn.  Cambridge Univ. Press.

Molles, M.C. Jr.  2008.  Ecology Concepts and Applications. 4th edn. McGraw-Hill, New York.

Morse, D.H.  1980.  Behavioral mechanisms in ecology.  Harvard Univ. Press, Cambridge, Mass.

Ricklefs, R.E.  1988.  Ecology.  Freeman and Co., New York.

Schmidt-Nielsen, K.  1990.  Animal physiology:  adaptation and environment.  Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge.

Turrill, W.B.  1929.  The plantlife of the Balkan peninsula.  Oxford.

Welty, J.C. & L. Baptista.  1988.  The life of birds.  4th edition.  Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Whittaker, R.H.  1975.  Communities and ecosystems.  2nd edition.  Macmillan, London.

Young, J.Z.  1981.  The life of vertebrates, 3η έκδοση.  Clarendon Press, Oxford.

 Additional references for specific topics.

 N.B. The above list corresponds to titles available in the University of the Aegean Library.


The course is taught in Greek. For exchange students, English literature is proposed and examinations are given in English.

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