AB-329 Arctic Winter Ecology (10 ECTS)

fieldwork ion Colessletta

ID:
AB-329
CREDITS:
10 ECTS
START DATE:
March 29, 2021
END DATE:
May 7, 2021
COURSE PERIOD:
Spring semester (March–May), annually.
LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION AND EXAMINATION:
English
CREDIT REDUCTION/OVERLAP:
10 ECTS with AB-829
GRADE:
Letter grade (A through F)
COURSE MATERIAL:
Primary scientific literature and book chapters; 150-250 pages
COURSE COSTS:
None
COURSE CAPACITY MIN/MAX:
10/20 students (AB-329/829 in total)
EXAMINATION SUPPORT MATERIAL:
Bilingual dictionary between English and mother tongue
APPLICATION DEADLINE:
October 15, 2020

INSTRUCTORS:

Simone Lang
Simone Lang
Associate professor in terrestrial biology

Course requirements:

Enrolment in a master programme in biology or another relevant master programme.

Academic content:

The students will gain insight into Arctic winter ecology by lectures. Topics will be the geophysical characteristics of seasonal, northern environments, physical properties of snow and ice, and adaptation and survival of terrestrial organisms during the Arctic winter, in contrasting habitats from tundra to glaciers. In seminar discussions, based on the course literature, certain topics will be dealt with in depth such as adaptive traits in terrestrial microbes, plants, invertebrates and vertebrates, as well as the effects of changes in winter conditions as a consequence of climate change.

Strong emphasis is on field demonstrations of relevant features of the winter in the high Arctic for better understanding the selective forces of the Arctic winter. Students are trained in applying ecological theory and methodology through field studies, and through writing a case study. Special focus is on teamwork and flexible project planning under challenging Arctic winter conditions. The students present the results from project work in a poster and by oral presentation.

Learning outcomes:

Knowledge
Upon completing the course, the students will be able to:

  • describe and explain environmental conditions during the Arctic winter
  • describe and explain adaptations and survival strategies that enable successful overwintering in terrestrial organisms.
  • identify major winter conditions which impact on biological communities and terrestrial ecosystems.
  • apply gained knowledge to interpret and evaluate current research in the field of Arctic winter ecology.

Skills
Upon completing the course, the students will be able to:

  • apply scientific methods and established ecological theories in project planning and data analysis
  • measure environmental factors characterizing winter conditions in the field
  • conduct laboratory measurements related to winter adaptation in terrestrial organisms
  • interpret ecological data based on statistical evaluation and relate it to established ecological theory.

General competences
Upon completing the course, the students will be able to:

  • plan and accomplish fieldwork under harsh conditions of the Arctic winter
  • develop a research project
  • demonstrate teamwork in research projects
  • communicate research results orally and in writing.

Learning activities:

The course extends over 1+5-6weeks (see below) and is run in combination with AB-829.

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 5-6 intensive weeks including compulsory safety training. See “Academic content” for an overview of the learning activities.

Total lecture/seminar hours: 35 hours.
Lab work: 20 hours.
Fieldwork: ca 4-6 day excursions (weather dependent)

Compulsory learning activities:

Seminars, field and laboratory work.
All compulsory learning activities must be approved in order to be registered for the final assessment.

Assessment:

Method
Percentage of final grade
Project work; including planning and executing inquiry based research project, and physical poster (group work) 50%
Written case study (individual) 50%

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 October 2020

 

Filedwork in Colesdalen

AB-329/829 students on fieldwork in Colesdalen in late February when the sun returns. Photo: Larissa Beumer/UNIS

Students in Adventdalen

AB-329/829 excursion in Adventdalen. Photo: Steve Coulson/UNIS

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