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BI4-301 Climate Change Ecology

Course description for academic year 2024/2025

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. Excursions at study start introduce several issues in a field context.

Learning Outcome


The student has:

  • understanding of 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
  • understanding of the importance of ecosystem based adaptation and restoration ecology in adapting and mitigating climate change effects Norway and globally


The student is able to:

  • 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:

The student can:

  • 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 scientific methods.

Teaching methods

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

Compulsory learning activities

Excursions at start of the semester

Paper presentation in groups (one + one as opponent)

Lab (one on ecosystem services)


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

Grade: A-E/F (fail)

Examination support material

Notes and curriculum literature

More about examination support material