AB-340 Climate Change Biology (10 ECTS)

Measuring snow characteristics in Advendalen. Icing in snow reduces the reindeer's access to plant forage. Photo: Børge Damsgård/UNIS

How to apply

ID:
AB-340
CREDITS:
10 ECTS
START DATE:
January 14, 2020
END DATE:
February 21, 2020
COURSE PERIOD:
Spring semester (January–February), annually
LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION AND EXAMINATION:
English
CREDIT REDUCTION/OVERLAP:
10 ECTS with AB-840.
GRADE:
Letter grade (A through F)
COURSE MATERIAL:
A compendium of scientific papers and book chapters will be available at course start.
COURSE COSTS:
None
COURSE CAPACITY MIN/MAX:
10/20 students
EXAMINATION SUPPORT MATERIAL:
All course material
APPLICATION DEADLINE:
October 15, 2019

INSTRUCTORS:

Mads Forchhammer
Mads Forchhammer
Professor, Terrestrial zoology

Course requirements:

Enrolment in a master programme within bio-, geo- or geophysical sciences. Also, common cross-disciplinary knowledge of the climate change and its effect in the Arctic is expected. Hence basic knowledge within these fields are important.

Academic content:

This course deals with the biological consequences of climate change in the Arctic. The course gives a unique cross-disciplinary understanding, where the geo- and geophysical causes of climate changes are specifically integrated to provide the context for a holistic understanding of climate change in the Arctic.

The course embraces the following key topics: (1) Physical processes of climate change in the Arctic (2) Marine and terrestrial responses (species, communities and ecosystems), (3) Species, population and system resilience, (4) timing of biology (seasonality and phenology), (5) Conservation in a warming Arctic, (6) Coupling observations and models using statistical modelling of the causes and effects of climate change in the Arctic.

Learning outcomes:

This course will provide the students with knowledge and comprehension of Arctic climate change. Through a diverse range of learning activities, the students will learn to analyse, synthesise and evaluate effects of climate change in the Arctic using research-based knowledge across natural sciences.

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

  • Define, discuss and contrast drivers of climate change in the Arctic.
  • List, classify, compare and evaluate how climate change impacts the Arctic biosphere.
  • Use and contrast observations and models across natural science disciplines to evaluate the causes and effects of climate change in the Arctic.

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

  • Combine knowledge across the naturals sciences to explain how climate changes and what biological consequences these have for the Arctic.
  • Apply statistical analyses to climatic and biotic data.
  • Design a project integrating climate drivers and biological responses in the Arctic.

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

  • Understand the inherent complexity of the causes and effects of climate change.
  • Discuss, contrast and evaluate research literature in cross-disciplinary fora.
  • Present and report scientific data across natural sciences, in writing as well as orally.
  • Understand and be able use and discuss cross-disciplinary data in natural sciences.

Learning activities:

The course extends over ca 6 weeks including compulsory safety training, and is run in combination with AB-840.

Lectures, seminars, group assignments, student presentations, report writing and field excursions. Lectures and field excursions will provide the students with the basic, hands-on knowledge and comprehension of Arctic climate change, whereas seminars with group assignments and student presentations are designed to activate students through the application, analysis and synthesis of research papers across biology and natural sciences. The final evaluation will be an independent written report of a chosen subject within Arctic climate change.

Total lecture hours: Ca. 36 hours.
Total exercise and seminar hours: Ca. 45 hours.
Fieldwork: Ca. 5 days.

Compulsory learning activities:

Seminars, group assignments, student presentations, report writing and field excursions.

All compulsory learning activities must be approved in order to be registered for the final assessment.

Assessment:

Method
Percentage of final grade
Written report from literature study 100%

 

Application deadline: 15 October 2019

Measuring snow characteristics in Advendalen. Icing in snow reduces the reindeer's access to plant forage. Photo: Børge Damsgård/UNIS

Measuring snow characteristics in Advendalen. Icing in snow reduces the reindeer’s access to plant forage.
Photo: Børge Damsgård/UNIS

Winter fieldwork in Adventdalen. Photo: Børge Damsgård/UNIS

Winter fieldwork in Adventdalen.
Photo: Børge Damsgård/UNIS

Reindeer marking in Reindalen. Longterm projekt headed by Leif Egil Loe (NMBU) on the effects of climate on reindeer. Photo: Mads Forchhammer/UNIS

Reindeer marking in Reindalen. Longterm projekt headed by Leif Egil Loe (NMBU) on the effects of climate on reindeer.
Photo: Mads Forchhammer/UNIS

Arctic fox in Semmeldalen. Climate effects on the arctic fox in Svalbard goes through its forage resources. Photo: Mads Forchhammer/UNIS

Arctic fox in Semmeldalen. Climate effects on the arctic fox in Svalbard goes through its forage resources.
Photo: Mads Forchhammer/UNIS

Inside a melting channel in the glacier Longyearbreen. Melting glaciers feed minerals to marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Photo: Mads Forchhammer/UNIS

Inside a melting channel in the glacier Longyearbreen. Melting glaciers feed minerals to marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
Photo: Mads Forchhammer/UNIS

Mountain avens (Dryas octopetala) flowering in north Svalbard. Timing of flowering is influenced by climate warming in the Arctic. Photo: Mads Forchhammer/UNIS

Mountain avens (Dryas octopetala) flowering in north Svalbard. Timing of flowering is influenced by climate warming in the Arctic.
Photo: Mads Forchhammer/UNIS

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