NBIK14000U Ecosystem Ecology
MSc Programme in Agriculture
The course teaches the mechanisms and processes governing the interactions between organisms and their environment as influenced by human activities. We take a system ecology approach and analyze systems starting at Global scale via the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems on to the scale of the soil aggregate and water film (Theme I-IV). We characterize organism-environment interactions from the local level that involve single individuals via populations and communities towards their condition in global biomes (Theme V-VII). Along this range of scales students will work with climate change, land use change, sources and effects of eutrophication, xenobiotics, bio-indicators, arable farming and animal husbandry, production of bio-fuel, waste depositing, the urban environment, etc.
Perform effective written and oral presentation of acquired
knowledge and ideas.
The course deals with seven themes: I The functioning of the Globe and the three spheres (atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere); II Global climate change and land-use change, succession and invasion; III The terrestrial ecosystem at different scales from aggregate over landscape to region; diversity and functioning; IV the aquatic system from spring to ocean; V organisms and their environment, eutrophication and xenobiotics, VI Bioindication, how species disappear due to human disturbance, thresholds; VII Biomes and threats, stability, pool sizes, activity versus resistance and resilience.
- Device methods for evaluations of ecosystem functioning at the landscape and local scale, and use of indicators, e.g. for monitoring programs.
- Work quantitatively with ecosystem functioning, environmental impacts, and nature quality.
Physical and chemical environment
- Describe the three spheres of the Globe (atmosphere, hydrosphere and geosphere), including the climate system of the Globe regionally and globally.
- Explain how conditions for exchange of biogenic greenhouse gases atmosphere – biosphere may depend on land-use.
- Analyze how the three dimensional structure and in particular the chemical and physical conditions of the environment forms the basis for the organisms living there.
Diversity and function of organisms
- Describe methods for analyzing the diversity of the main groups of organisms and its relation to functioning of the environment.
- Describe the interactions of land use, species composition, and ecosystem functioning.
- Describe how interactions among organisms affect the observed reaction of these organisms to xenobiotics.
- Describe the mechanisms behind changes in species composition in sites affected by human activity, and if bioindicators can give us information on these changes.
- Analyze how different biomes have different conditions and therefore different threats to their optimal functioning.
- Be able to formulate aims and guiding principles for use and protection of ecosystems, their functioning and biotic composition.
- Capable of analyzing the effect of human activities on the environments and their functions to provide services to the surroundings and to the human society.
- Be able to analyze, put into perspective, and criticize original research papers and reports.
- Be able to perform effective written and oral presentations of acquired knowledge and ideas
- 7,5 ECTS
- Type of assessment
- Written examination, 4 hours under invigilation...
- Exam registration requirements
- In order to be allowed to the final exam, the student should have participated actively in the course by being present at least for 80% of the lab demonstrations, theoretical exercises and discussion classes, by performing a satisfactory oral presentation based on relevant litterature, and by handing in a satisfactory essay.
- All aids allowed
- Marking scale
- 7-point grading scale
- Censorship form
- No external censorship
Several internal examiners
- Oral examination (20 minutes) with prepation time (20 minutes) and all aids.
Criteria for exam assesment
Understand the interactions between organisms and their environment as influenced by human activities. From a system ecology approach be capable of analyzing systems starting at Global scale via the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems on to the scale of the soil aggregate and water film. Understand organism-environment interactions from the level of single individuals via populations and communities towards their condition in global biomes.
- Project work
- Theory exercises