AB-326 Arctic Plant Ecology (10 ECTS)

Student fieldwork at Hiorthhamn

How to apply

ID:
AB-326
CREDITS:
10 ECTS
START DATE:
20 June 2017
END DATE:
26 July 2017
COURSE PERIOD:
Autumn semester (June–August), every second year. Next course: 2017
LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION AND EXAMINATION:
English
CREDIT REDUCTION/OVERLAP:
10 ECTS with AB-826
GRADE:
Letter grade (A through F)
COURSE MATERIAL:
Primary scientific literature and book chapters, 300–350 pages
COURSE COSTS:
Fieldwork, NOK 1600 (8 days x NOK 200 per overnight stay)
COURSE CAPACITY MIN/MAX:
9/18 students (AB-326/826 in total)
EXAMINATION SUPPORT MATERIAL:
Bilingual dictionary between English and mother tongue
APPLICATION DEADLINE:
15 February 2017

INSTRUCTORS:

Pernille Bronken Eidesen
Pernille Bronken Eidesen
Associate Professor, Terrestrial Arctic Biology

Course requirements:

Enrolment in a master programme in biology.

Academic content:

Arctic plant ecology and Arctic plant biogeography is introduced by lectures. In seminar discussions based on the course literature certain topics will be dealt with in depth, such as adaptive plant traits, biotic interactions, species diversity and community differentiation, terrestrial ecosystem functioning and impacts of climate change and other environmental change. The course takes advantage of the sharp climatic gradients present within the Svalbard archipelago when introducing the Arctic flora, vegetation and bioclimatic sub-zonation of the Arctic biome.

Strong emphasis is on demonstration of ecological features in the field, such as biotic interactions and the impact of topography, bedrock and disturbances by periglacial processes on terrestrial ecosystems. Students are trained in application of ecological theory and methodology on problems through field studies. Special training is given in teamwork and flexible project planning under challenging and harsh Arctic conditions. The students present results from project work in a scientific report and by oral presentation.

Learning outcomes:

Knowledge
Upon completing the course, the students can:

  • Describe and explain biodiversity and biogeography of Arctic plants.
  • Describe and explain Arctic plant adaptations that enable survival under Arctic conditions.
  • Describe and explain biotic interactions and ecosystem functioning in high Arctic terrestrial ecosystems with focus on vegetation.
  • Identify major environmental factors that control vegetation differentiation.
  • Apply gained knowledge to interpret current research within Arctic plant ecology and biodiversity.

Skills
Upon completing the course, the students can:

  • Apply scientific methods and established ecological theories in project planning, data collection and data analysis.
  • Identify the most common Arctic plants (vascular, bryophytes and lichens).
  • Describe Arctic vegetation
  • Measure major environmental factors and basic soil characteristics.
  • Interpret ecological data based on statistical evaluation and established ecological theory.

General competences
Upon completing the course, the students can:

  • Master research teamwork when doing field studies under challenging Arctic conditions.
  • Communicate research results orally and in writing.

Learning activities:

The course extends over 1 + 5 weeks (see below) and is run in combination with AB-826.

Prior to arrival in Svalbard students must read primary literature that has been sent to them in advance, and they must prepare for seminars (approximately one week of full time study). After arrival at UNIS, the course extends over 5 intensive weeks including compulsory safety training. See “Academic content” for an overview of other learning activities.

Total lecture/seminar hours: 34 hours.
Lab work: 20 hours.
Field cruise: 8 days.
Day excursions: 3 days.

Compulsory learning activities:

Literature seminars, fieldwork and other course project work.
All compulsory learning activities must be approved in order to sit the exam.

Assessment:

Method
Percentage of final grade
Literature seminar presentation 20%
Written project report 70%
Oral presentation of report 10%

All assessments must be passed in order to pass the course.

Each assessment is graded, and subsequently combined into a single grade. Partial grades for each assessment will be available.

Application deadline: 15 February 2017

Students counting moss

AB-326/826 students counting mosses during the course cruise. Photo: Pernille Bronken Eidesen/UNIS.

Students on land

AB-326/826 excursion on land during course cruise. Photo: Pernille Bronken Eidesen/UNIS.

CONTACT INFO

The University Centre in Svalbard
Telephone: +47 79 02 33 00
Fax: +47 79 02 33 01
E-mail: post@unis.no / webmaster@unis.no
Address: P.O. Box 156 N-9171 Longyearbyen
Org. no. 985 204 454

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