Carrion Ecology & Evolution

Course Description

Carrion Ecology and Evolution includes a range of organisms including molecular, bacterial, fungal, invertebrate, and vertebrate communities. Intra & interspecific interactions related to population biology, community ecology, & processes that manifest into habitats and ecosystems will be addressed. A multidisciplinary view of organisms will provide the basis for understanding decomposition.

Course Objectives

At the successful completion of this course, students should be able to

  1. Explain the processes and mechanisms of death of vertebrate carrion.
  2. Define carrion ecology and evolution and explain where these areas of biology fit into the biological hierarchy, and within spatial and temporal scales.
  3. Identify and discuss ecological mechanisms of carrion decomposition within various habitats.
  4. Explain the evolutionary ecology of carrion decomposition in terms of population and microbial genetics.
  5. Design and analyze a field study in carrion ecology.
  6. List and explain the types of interactions between and among species and the ecological and evolutionary effects of these interactions on carrion decomposition.
  7. Outline the different terrestrial, aquatic and interkingdom ecological interactions of carrion decomposition and provide examples of the species involved in these interactions.
  8. Articulate the applications of carrion decomposition from management and conservation perspectives but also from a forensic viewpoint.
  9. Explain the frontiers to carrion ecology and evolution and where the field will be in the future.