Alina Avanesyan
Among the redwoods -- Muir Woods

Animal Ecology

Animal Ecology was one of the courses that I developed and taught as an instructor, and then docent, at Herzen State University during 2003-2009. It was also one of my favorites courses. The course included lectures and discussion sessions, as well as term projects, city tours, and field trips.


Here are some examples of lecture slides, that cover the basics of animal life in populations: spatial structure, hierarchy and communication, age structure and sex ratio, dynamics and ecological strategies:

Topic: Spatial structure
Topic: Hierarchy and communication
Topic: Age structure and sex ratio
Topic: Dynamics and ecological strategies

Students Term Projects

At the beginning of the semester the students were divided into groups of 4-5 people. Each group was supposed to choose any organization/facility/attraction in the city that is related to animals (museum exponents or living animals). The most popular places were the Leningrad zoo, Zoological Museum of the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, dolphinarium, and aquarium. Students were supposed to visit the chosen place and do some research about the purpose of this facility, its history, its work, the animal species it contains, etc. In the end of the presentation students shared their opinion about the conditions for animals (if there were living animals). As Herzen university focused mostly on preparing future school teachers and college professors, the purpose of these projects was to help students get familiar with the educational and research facilities in St. Petersburg which they can use in their future teaching work. Here are four examples of students’ final presentations:

Project: Dolphinarium
Project: Zoo
Project: Zoological Museum
Project: Acquarium

Homework Assignments

These are examples of homework assignments for the Animal Ecology course (in Russian). Each assignment contains pictures of animals and a question about adaptations of these animals to their environment. For each class, students were supposed to write a one page-answer to such questions. (Click the thumbnails for larger images)