AB-340 Climate Change Biology (10 ECTS)

ID:

AB-340

CREDITS:

10 ECTS

APPLICATION DEADLINE:

October 15, 2022

START DATE:

January 10, 2023

END DATE:

February 17, 2023

COURSE PERIOD:

Spring semester (January–February), annually

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

Grade:Letter grade (A through F)
Course Cost:None
Course Capacity Min/Max:10/20 students (AB-340 / 840 in total)
Language of instruction:English
Examination support material:All course material

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 is 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.

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

Knowledge

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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 to 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.

Summary

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

Compulsory learning activities

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

  • Seminars and exercises
  • Group assignments
  • Student presentations
  • Report writing and field excursions

Assessment

Method
Percentage of final grade
Written report from literature study100%

Student life

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