Abstract:
In the first part of this text we give a survey of the properties satisfied by the C1-generic conservative diffeomorphisms of compact surfaces. The main result that we will discuss is that a C1-generic conservative diffeomorphism of a connected compact surface is transitive. It is obtain as a consequence of a connecting lemma for pseudo-orbits. In the last parts we expose some recent developments of the C1-perturbation technics and the proof of this connecting lemma. We are not aimed to deal with technicalities nor to give the finest available versions of these results. Besides this theory exists also in higher dimension and in the non-conservative setting, we restricted the scope of this presentation to the conservative case on surfaces, since it offers some simplifications which allow to explain in an easier way the main ideas of the subject.

Abstract:
We show a $C^r$ connecting lemma for area-preserving surface diffeomorphisms and for periodic Hamiltonian on surfaces. We prove that for a generic $C^r$, $r=1, 2, ...$, $\infty$, area-preserving diffeomorphism on a compact orientable surface, homotopic to identity, every hyperbolic periodic point has a transversal homoclinic point. We also show that for a $C^r$, $r=1, 2, ...$, $\infty$ generic time periodic Hamiltonian vector field in a compact orientable surface, every hyperbolic periodic trajectory has a transversal homoclinic point. The proof explores the special properties of diffeomorphisms that are generated by Hamiltonian flows.

Abstract:
We prove here that in the complement of the closure of the hyperbolic surface diffeomorphisms, the ones exhibiting a homoclinic tangency are C^1 dense. This represents a step towards the global understanding of dynamics of surface diffeomorphisms.

Abstract:
We give sufficient conditions for a diffeomorphism of a compact surface to be robustly $N$-expansive and cw-expansive in the $C^r$-topology. We give examples on the genus two surface showing that they need not to be Anosov diffeomorphisms. The examples are axiom A diffeomorphisms with tangencies at wandering points.

Abstract:
We prove some generic properties for $C^r$, $r=1, 2, ..., \infty$, area-preserving diffeomorphism on compact surfaces. The main result is that the union of the stable (or unstable) manifolds of hyperbolic periodic points are dense in the surface. This extends the result of Franks and Le Calvez \cite{FL03} on $S^2$ to general surfaces. The proof uses the theory of prime ends and Lefschetz fixed point theorem.

Abstract:
A homeomorphism of a compact metric space is {\em tight} provided every non-degenerate compact connected (not necessarily invariant) subset carries positive entropy. It is shown that every $C^{1+\alpha}$ diffeomorphism of a closed surface factors to a tight homeomorphism of a generalized cactoid (roughly, a surface with nodes) by a semi-conjugacy whose fibers carry zero entropy.

Abstract:
We prove that a "positive probability" subset of the boundary of the set of hyperbolic (Axiom A) surface diffeomorphisms with no cycles $\mathcal{H}$ is constituted by Kupka-Smale diffeomorphisms: all periodic points are hyperbolic and their invariant manifolds intersect transversally. Lack of hyperbolicity arises from the presence of a tangency between a stable manifold and an unstable manifold, one of which is not associated to a periodic point. All these diffeomorphisms that we construct lie on the boundary of the same connected component of $\mathcal{H}$.

Abstract:
In these lectures we consider how algebraic properties of discrete subgroups of Lie groups restrict the possible actions of those groups on surfaces. The results show a strong parallel between the possible actions of such a group on the circle $S^1$ and the measure preserving actions on surfaces. Our aim is the study of the (non)-existence of actions of lattices in a large class of non-compact Lie groups on surfaces. A definitive analysis of the analogous question for actions on $S^1$ was carried out by \'E. Ghys. Our approach is topological and insofar as possible we try to isolate properties of a group which provide the tools necessary for our analysis. The two key properties we consider are almost simplicity and the existence of a distortion element. Both will be defined and described in the lectures. Our techniques are almost all from low dimensional dynamics. But we are interested in how algebraic properties of a group -- commutativity, nilpotence, etc. affect the possible kinds of dynamics which can occur. For most of the results we will consider groups of diffeomorphisms which preserve a Borel probability measure.

Abstract:
The Nielsen-Thurston theory of surface diffeomorphisms shows that useful dynamical information can be obtained about a surface diffeomorphism from a finite collection of periodic orbits.In this paper, we extend these results to homoclinic and heteroclinic orbits of saddle points. These orbits are most readily computed and studied as intersections of unstable and stable manifolds comprising homoclinic or heteroclinic tangles in the surface. We show how to compute a map of a one-dimensional space similar to a train-track which represents the isotopy-stable dynamics of the surface diffeomorphism relative to a tangle. All orbits of this one-dimensional representative are globally shadowed by orbits of the surface diffeomorphism, and periodic, homoclinic and heteroclinic orbits of the one-dimensional representative are shadowed by similar orbits in the surface.By constructing suitable surface diffeomorphisms, we prove that these results are optimal in the sense that the topological entropy of the one-dimensional representative is the greatest lower bound for the entropies of diffeomorphisms in the isotopy class.

Abstract:
Let S be a closed surface of genus g >= 2 and z in S a marked point. We prove that the subgroup of the mapping class group Map(S,z) corresponding to the fundamental group pi_1(S,z) of the closed surface does not lift to the group of diffeomorphisms of S fixing z. As a corollary, we show that the Atiyah-Kodaira surface bundles admit no invariant flat connection, and obtain another proof of Morita's non-lifting theorem.