autumn 2018
BIO-3019 Arctic Biodiversity and Systematics - 10 ECTS

Last changed 08.02.2019

Application deadline

Concerns only admission to singular courses: Applicants from Nordic countries: 1 June for the autumn semester and 1 December for the spring semester. Exchange students and Fulbright students: 1 October for the spring semester and 15 April for the autumn semester.

Type of course

Theoretical and practical.

The course is limited to 20 students.

Admission requirements

Local admission, application code 9371 - Master's level singular course.

Admission requires a Bachelor`s degree (180 ECTS) or equivalent qualification, with a major in biology of minimum 80 ECTS.

Course content

Biodiversity research addresses how new species are formed, the genetic, ecological and evolutionary processes that maintain such a wide variety of organisms, and why organisms become extinct. Our knowledge of diversity is structured through the study of systematics, which seeks to understand the history of life through the phylogenetic and genetic relationships of organisms. With a focus on arctic biodiversity, we are taking a historical perspective, which helps to interpret current patterns and project into the future. At the core of this approach are phylogenetic trees and "tree thinking" for the synthesis of genetic data and other biological and comparative observations. An appreciation of diversity and knowledge of the principles and procedures of systematics are essential in ecology, and underlie all work in resource utilization and conservation biology. The course is taught jointly by researchers from Tromsø Museum, University of Tromsø and leading experts in arctic biodiversity from other research institutions. The course comprises lectures and seminars, laboratory DNA analysis and phylogenetic data analysis practicals. The course builds solid foundation relevant to various biological research tasks, which can be further advanced via other courses in Biosystematics run at UiT, eg BIO-8024 and BIO-8025, as well as those run by the Research School in Biosystematics (FORBIO)

Objectives of the course

After the course, the students should have knowledge about:

  • You learn fundamental principles and theories about biodiversity patterns and genetic, ecological and evolutionary processes behind them, with a focus on Arctic region. You also learn about key components of systematics: taxonomy (identification and nomenclature) and principles of biological classification.


  • You will acquire laboratory (DNA extraction, PCR and sequencing) skills for implementing DNA barcoding and quantitative analytical skills for tree building and multivariate ordination for morphometric and species community comparisons.

General competence

  • You will be able to evaluate a scientific problem and to set up and implement problem-solving strategy of experiments or observations. Interpret available data and effectively communicate relevant answer to the question and suggest solutions, in an academic context as well as in practical applications.

Language of instruction


Teaching methods

Teaching will include lectures, seminars for the theory part, laboratory group teaching and data analysis practicals.


One written research project with presentation (weighted 30 %) and one written exam (weighted 70%). A graded scale of five marks from A to E for pass and F for fail.

There will be a re-sit examination for students that did not pass the previous ordinary examination.


Recommended reading/syllabus

Will be provided by the lecturers.
  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 10
  • Course code: BIO-3019