autumn 2016

BIO-8006 Environmental systems: integrating monitoring, research and management - 10 stp

Last changed: 08.04.2017

The course is administrated by

Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics


Tromsø |

Application deadline

Registration deadline for PhD students at UiT - The Arctic University of Norway: September 1st.

Extended application deadline for other applicants: August 1st.

Application code: 9306.

Type of course

A course for PhD students in environmental sciences.

Admission requirements

PhD students or holders of a Norwegian master´s degree of five years or 3+ 2 years (or equivalent) may be admitted. Valid documentation is a statement from your institution that you are a registered PhD student or a Master´s Diploma with Diploma Supplement / English translation of the diploma. PhD students are exempt from semester fee.


PhD students at UiT register for the course through StudentWeb. The registration for autumn semester starts in the middle of June.

Other applicants apply for admission through SøknadsWeb.Application code 9306

Contact Ingjerd Gauslaa Nilsen at the BFE-faculty if you have troubles or questions regarding registration to the course.

Course contents

Two important challenges in environmental sciences are to assess how human drivers impact on environmental systems and the effectiveness of management policies to adapt or mitigate these impacts. Answering these challenges implies we need to set up multidisciplinary monitoring systems that can efficiently measure changes and identify causes of changes for entities that, more often than not, are monitored on incongruent scales. The course therefore aims at integrating monitoring, research and management around three themes:

For climate systems, the course will, with an emphasis on the Arctic region, utilize local, regional and global examples of utilizing data and models in combination to assess monitoring systems ability to detect and attribute climate change. The examples will be utilized for conceptual discussions of strategies for designing climate monitoring systems on a cascade of scales.

For ecological systems, the course will illustrate the basic concepts of ecosystem functioning and management, and how climate interacts with other drivers to affect ecosystem dynamics, with the use of case studies from terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems.

For the relationships between society, climate and ecological systems, the course will in particular focus on how society involvements can be made operational within adaptive monitoring/management framework.

For each theme, the course will rely on concrete case studies from northern regions, as well as presentations of general principles, such as adaptive management and monitoring.

Objective of the course

After the course the students should have knowledge about:

  • principles of adaptive management
  • principles of adaptive monitoring
  • examples of monitoring systems of northern climate systems
  • examples of monitoring systems of northern marine environments
  • examples of monitoring systems of northern freshwater environments
  • examples of monitoring systems of northern terrestrial environments


  • Identification of relevant scales and design of climate monitoring systems
  • Identification of relevant scales and design of ecosystem monitoring program
  • Multidisciplinary dialogue between climate, ecosystem and social sciences

General competence:

  • Be able to critically assess monitoring programs
  • Evaluate the integration of monitoring objectives and design
  • Assess societal involvement in monitoring programs
  • Knowledge of northern social-ecological systems

Language of instruction


Teaching methods

Lectures: 30 hours, seminars: 30 hours.


Oral exam. Grade: Pass/fail.

There will not be arranged a re-sit exam for this course.


Recommended reading/syllabus

The curriculum will consist of scientific papers presenting the scientific principles of adaptive management and monitoring as well as concrete examples of monitoring systems of northern systems.

Some papers are listed below:

Adams, W.M. (2014) The value of valuing nature. Science, 346, 549-551.

Editorial (2015) Our planet and us. Nature Geoscience, 8, 81

Campbell, C.A., Lefroy, E.C., Caddy-Retalic, S., Bax, N., Dohertyf, P.J., Douglas, M.M., Johnson, D., Possingham, H.P., Specht, A., Tarte, D. & West, J. (2015) Designing environmental research for impact. Science of the Total Environment, 534, 4-13.

Cook, C.N., Inayatullah, S., Burgman, M.A., Sutherland, W.J. & Wintle, B.A. (2014) Strategic foresight: how planning for the unpredictable can improve environmental decision-making. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 29, 531-541.

Lindenmayer, D.B. & Likens, G.E. (2009) Adaptive monitoring: a new paradigm for long-term research and monitoring. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 24, 482-486.

Lindenmayer, D.B., Gibbons, P., Bourke, M., Burgman, M., Dickman, C.R., Ferrier, S., Fitzsimons, J., Freudenberger, D., Garnett, S.T., Groves, C., Hobbs, R.J., Kingsford, R.T., Krebs, C., Legge, S., Lowe, A.J., McLean, R., Montambault, J., Possingham, H., Radford, J., Robinson, D., Smallbone, L., Thomas, D., Varcoe, T., Vardon, M., Wardle, G., Woinarski, J. & Zerger, A. (2012) Improving biodiversity monitoring. Austral Ecology, 37, 285-294.

Lindenmayer, D.B., Burns, E.L., Tennant, P., Dickman, C.R., Green, P.T., Keith, D.A., Metcalfe, D.J., Russell-Smith, J., Wardle, G.M., Williams, D., Bossard, K., deLacey, C., Hanigan, I., Bull, C.M., Gillespie, G., Hobbs, R.J., Krebs, C.J., Likens, G.E., Porter, J. & Vardon, M. (2015) Contemplating the future: Acting now on long-term monitoring to answer 2050's questions. Austral Ecology, 40, 213-224.

Nichols, J.D. & Williams, B.K. (2006) Monitoring for conservation. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 21, 668-673.

Nichols, J.D., Eaton, M.J. & Martin, J. (2014) Thresholds for Conservation and Management: Structured Decision Making as a Conceptual Framework. Application of Threshold Concepts in Natural Resource Decision Making (ed. by G.R. Guntenspergen), pp. 9-28. Springer New York.

Nichols, J.D., Johnson, F.A., Williams, B.K. & Boomer, G.S. (2015) On formally integrating science and policy: walking the walk. Journal of Applied Ecology, 52, 539-543.

Walters, C.J. (2007) Is adaptive management helping to solve fisheries problems? Ambio, 36, 304-307.

Wilson, H.B., Rhodes, J.R. & Possingham, H.P. (2015) Two additional principles for determining which species to monitor. Ecology, 96, 3016-3022.

Yoccoz, N.G., Nichols, J.D. & Boulinier, T. (2001) Monitoring of biological diversity in space and time. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 16, 446-453.

Lectures Autumn 2016
First attandance: 24 September, time 12:15. Room will be announced later.


Yoccoz, Nigel Gilles

Phone: +4777646884

Profilbilde Tonje E Eriksen.jpg

Tonje Engevik Eriksen

Phone: +4777623314