1.018J | Fall 2009 | Undergraduate

Ecology I: The Earth System


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Recitations: 1 session / week, 1 hour / session

Textbooks and Readings

Smith, Robert, and Thomas Smith. Ecology and Field Biology. 6th ed. San Francisco, CA: Benjamin Cummings, 2001. ISBN: 9780321068811.

Ancillary readings will be made available through the course Web site. These will be assigned to be associated with particular Lectures.


Recitations will be run by the TAs, undergraduate teaching fellows (UTFs), and Harlan Breindel and Leslie Roldan from the Writing Program unless otherwise specified. We strongly encourage you to attend. Content presented in some of the recitations will be essential for your term project.

Class Handouts

Outlines and specific reading assignments will be made available for each cluster of lectures on a specific topic. Study guides will be available before each quiz to help you focus your reading and studying.


Quizzes 50% There will be 3 quizzes throughout the semester. The third quiz will be cumulative.
Term project 40% Note that Communications Intensive grades contribute to this.
Homework 10% The problem sets will rely on readings as well as lecture notes. You can work in groups of 3 if you so choose, and submit them as a group.
Extra credit   There may be extra credit questions on the exams as well as extra credit activities. These count above and beyond the normal curve of the class (in other words, you can get an A without extra credit). Extra credit factors into a grade only when a student is on the borderline between two grades. It can tip the balance.


Show up, be honest, and do your best.

We hope that as a result of this course you will:

  • Look at the Earth in a different way, and appreciate the complex interactions between living organisms and the non-living components of our planet. It is these interactions that shape your future.
  • Become a more critical thinker, and bring the concepts you learned in this course into the way you approach your life and careers.
  • Improve your writing and speaking skills.

Academic Honesty

Although MIT does not have an honor code, in 1.018 we function as though it does. We will not police you. We assume that you are honest, are here to learn, and are proud of your work.

Policy on cheating

If a student is caught turning in a paper or homework that was written by someone else, or copying text from sources without referencing them, or cheating on an exam, he or she will be given an F on the assignment, and likely be reported to the Committee on Discipline. If you have questions regarding what constitutes the appropriate use of sources and plagiarism, you should consult with a member of the course staff. Academic Integrity at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a useful handbook for understanding what constitutes violations of academic integrity, for citing sources, and for avoiding plagiarism. (PDF)

Course Info

Learning Resource Types
Problem Sets with Solutions
Exams with Solutions
Lecture Notes
Projects with Examples