ESC 550: Community Ecology/New England Landscape


86435 (for web registration)




Jeffry Littleton






Fall 2012

Meeting Schedule:

Fridays 8/31 - 12/14 (1:00PM-3:59PM)


Competency Area: Core – Required Prerequisite: Being able to identify by bark the two dozen most common species of central New England trees (Suggested study guide – Wojtech, Michael. 2011. Bark: A Field Guide to Trees of the Northeast. University Press of New England. Lebanon, NH.)

This course examines the diversity of plant communities found in central New England with special attention to the impact of topography, substrate, and disturbance regimes on community composition and structure as a means to understand ecological community dynamics in any part of the world. As a largely field-based course, both qualitative and quantitative means will be used to describe community composition and structure, as well as the reasons for community placement. Ecocindicator species will be used to delineate specific topographic and edaphic sites, while evidence of various disturbances will be used to interpret successional patterns as a means for “reading the landscape.” The course will have a strong grounding in concepts related to community ecology including dominance, diversity, niche structuring, and succession. Skills in plant community sampling, soil interpretation, and plant identification will also be developed. A number of outstanding representatives of community types in the central Connecticut River watershed will be visited.