NBIK17002U CANCELLED - Introduction to Arctic Ecosystems

Volume 2019/2020

The course will provide a broad introduction to how terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in the Arctic have developed, are structured and function in relation to environmental conditions. The course will also provide a deeper knowlegde and understanding of organisms (microbes, plants and animals), their life cycles, adaptations to arctic conditions and how they interact. Examples of how ecosystems respond to climate changes and to direct human activities (e.g., hunting, fishing, tourism and exploration of minerals) in Greenland will be demonstrated and debated.

The course addresses students and academics as well as non-academics from any disciplines but a prior understanding of basic life sciences at high-school levels will be an advantage. However, care will be taken to implement a good understanding of basic biological terminology and approaches to enable the students a profound understanding of the arctic ecological processes and paradigms at an academic level.

The course is structured with weekly lectures in combination with theoretical and hands-on exercises. Excursions and invited guest speakers will provide insight to management and monitoring aspects. The students will furthermore be challenged through own presentations (individually and in groups) of relevant arctic topics. 

Learning Outcome


  • Basic terminology used in Arctic biology
  • Arctic organisms and their living conditions
  • Structure and function of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems
  • How climate changes and environmental hazardsaffect organisms and their interactions
  • Strategies for management and monitoring in the Arctic ecosystem
  • Research, educational and management actors


  • Describe the complex nature of terrestrial and aquatic Arctic ecosystem
  • Explain important biological processes in Arctic ecosystems
  • Understand the influences of climate changes on populations and ecosystems in the Arctic
  • Extract knowledge from the literature and use it to pinpoint specific questions related to e.g. sensibility of arctic ecosystems to disturbances


  • Analyse, outline and present complex relationships between arctic ecosystems and their environments
  • Facilitate a discussion on the consequences of natural and human activities on arctic ecosystems
  • Formulate research, management and monitoring needs for the Arctic.

Text books, primary literature (papers), reports, official documents etc.
See Absalon for further information.

An understanding of basic life sciences at high-school levels will be an advantage.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.
Lectures, theoretical/practical exercises, excursions, demonstrations, debates and mini-symposium
The course is aimed at students and academia with no prior knowledge to the Arctic incl. Greenland and is intended to provide a profound introduction of important facets of the Arctic condition. The course should be useful for anyone performing education, administration and managements in an Arctic region. Students from Geosciences, Biotechnology and Natural sciences may find the course as a supplement to their main specialization.
This course is part of the arctic coursework at UCPH. See more at arctic.ku.dk.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 2
  • Lectures
  • 40
  • Practical exercises
  • 24
  • Preparation
  • 76
  • Project work
  • 40
  • Theory exercises
  • 24
  • Total
  • 206
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination, 2 hours under invigilation
The exam consists of 20 multiple choice questions, 1 short essay and 2-4 other types of questions
Exam registration requirements

Handing in one individual essay, presented one group work and participated in min. 80% of all exercises.




All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
One internal examiner

The same as the ordinary exam.

If the requirement of handing in one individual essay and presenting one group work, are not fulfilled the student has to hand in two new essays no later than three weeks before the reexam.

If the requirement of participating in min. 80% of all exercises is not fulfilled the student has to hand in written tasks (typically essays) proportional to the teaching time that has not been attended. These additional tasks must be delivered and assessed no later than three weeks before the reexam.

Criteria for exam assesment

In order to obtain the grade 12 the student should convincingly and accurately demonstrate the knowledge, skills and competences described under Learning Outcome.