BI4-301 Climate Change Ecology

Course description for academic year 2020/2021

Due to Covid-19, changes may occur in course descriptions for the autumn semester of 2020. Changes in each course will be published on Studentweb or Canvas. When a course description has been changed there, the description on web is no longer valid. Examples of such changes could be accomplishment of practice, course type, or whether letter grades or passed/not passed will be used as grading scales.

Contents and structure

The course is divided into four main sections.

  1. The first section (ca. one week) focus on the role of climatic factors for patterns of species distribution, abundance and phenology.
  2. The second section (ca two weeks) focus on the climate change effects on various systems such as arctic, alpine, boreal, marine and wetland ecosystems. Throughout this section, we highlight some specific and general features of changes in these systems, for example how climate change interact with other environmental changes in affecting biodiversity. We also address what society can do to manage these systems under climate change, for example, how to preserve ecosystem services to the benefit of human society.
  3. The third section (ca one week) focuses specifically on natural resource management and ecosystem services. We introduce ecosystem based adaptation and restoration ecology as methods to both adapt to (e.g. strategies for managing biodiversity) and mitigate (e.g. CO2-sequestration) climate change.
  4. The fourth section (is where the student should write a popular paper based on a scientific paper (and or theme) and do a written exam.

A representative selection of scientific studies will be discussed in detail to provide insight and highlight examples from the three first sections.

Learning Outcome


  • Understand ecology and ecological processes
  • Advanced knowledge about how climatic factor and climate change affect current patterns of species distribution, abundance and phenology
  • Knowledge about the interaction between climate change and other global environmental changes
  • Knowledge about how climate change affects terrestrial and aquatic/marine systems
  • Advanced knowledge about how climate change affects basic ecosystem services and the consequences for human food production in a local and global perspective
  • Knowledge about how natural resources and land (e.g. forests, peatland, wetlands, etc) can be managed to maintain and increase CO2-sequestration
  • Understand the importance of ecosystem based adaptation and restoration ecology inadapting and mitigating climate change effects Norway and globally


  • Explain how climate change affects different ecosystems
  • Present relevant scientific literature to their fellow students
  • Analyze and critically assess relevant scientific literature, and other information sources, and use these to structure and formulate scientific reasoning.
  • Write a popular science article on climate change ecology targeting a general audience

General competence:

  • Communicate scientific problems, analyses and conclusions within their field of expertise
  • Present scientific research to a general audience
  • Apply ecological knowledge in natural resource management and planning

Entry requirements


Recommended previous knowledge

It is an advantage with basic knowledge in ecology, natural resource management and statistics.

Teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Student presentations (group)
  • Written assignment to popularize climate ecology science

Course requirements

Students must hold an oral presentation (group) of a scientific article for the class and act as opponents for other student presentations.


  • Popular science article (40 % of grade)
  • Written exam, 4 hrs (60 % of grade)

Grade: A-E/F (fail)

Examination support material


More about examination support material