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Animal Biodiversity in Forest Ecosystems

6 ECTS Padua Year 1 Semester 2 Elective Environmental sciences


The aim of the course is to provide students with basic knowledge of animal ecology, to understand the impacts of global change on biodiversity in forest ecosystems, with a particular focus on the impacts of exotic animal species. The content of the course is relevant for students interested in ecological issues applied to environmental and forest sciences.

The first part of the course will provide the students with knowledge of the origin and distribution of animal biodiversity in forests (species-area relationships), methodologies to sample and measure biodiversity data, and the main drivers of biodiversity. In addition, diversity of forest animals will be explored in relation to tree species, feeding guilds, and to the history of forest stands. Population dynamics in different types of forest ecosystems will be analysed for key species.

The second part of the course will focus on invasive species. Students will learn about the geography and scale of invasions, ecological effects, and the evolution of introduced species. Each concept will include comprehensive consideration of a variety of case studies. The latter will cover different taxa, including insects and vertebrates of European concern, and different ecosystems, including forests and urban areas.

Learning outcomes

The course will enable students to make critical evaluations of animal ecology and of integrated animal resource management planning.

Teaching and learning methods

The course will include 32 hours of theoretical teaching as well as 16 hours of practical work, done in both the laboratory and in the field. One or two seminars by visiting scientists will be also planned

Teaching materials used in class and additional readings and media will be made available through the e-learning Moodle platform of the School.

Type of assessment

  • Individual
  • Written exam, Oral presentation
  • The exam will consist on a written test on the topics/activities discussed during the course as well as of an oral presentation on a subject agreed with the teacher.

    The assessment of the student will be carried out based on the general understanding of both theoretical and practical subjects.


  • Location : Padua
  • ECTS granting : University of Padua
  • Organisation : University of Padua



Davide Rassati

Davide Rassati

  • University of Padua, Padua Italy