autumn 2015
BIO-3015 Arctic Marine System Ecology and Climate Change - 10 ECTS

Application deadline

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

Type of course

Master course for biology students - principally aimed at MSc-students specializing in "Marine Ecology and Biodiversity".  The course is available as a singular course.

Admission requirements

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

Admission requires a Bachelor`s degree (180 ECTS) in biology or equivalent qualification in biology.

Recommended skills corresponding to courses Bio-2010 Marine Ecology and Bio-2516 Ocean climate.

Course content

The course provides an introduction to marine system ecology and climate change in the Arctic Ocean. It describes the physics of the Arctic Ocean and adjacent seas, for both water and ice, and how climate change alters them. The course introduces important key organisms, life history strategies, habitats and ecosystems of the Arctic Ocean. Coupling between organisms and habitats are discussed with respect to organisms and energy flow, and also how physical processes determine the preconditions for species and productivity, today and in the near future. An important aspect is how anthropogenic impact and management influence arctic marine systems. Students will be introduced to a wide range of examples on system ecological response to climate change in the Arctic Ocean, ranging from microbial organisms to fish, including biogeochemical cycles.

Recommended prerequisites

BIO-2010 Marine Ecology, BIO-2516 Ocean Climate

Objectives of the course

The course builds knowledge on:

  • The concept of marine systems ecology
  • Physical oceanography, climate and different regions of the Arctic
  • Physical and chemical forcing of ecosystems
  • Arctic key organisms, their life history strategies and habitats
  • How species, processes and habitats are coupled in Arctic systems
  • Structure and energy flow in ecosystems, including role of parasites
  • The importance of time scales in studies of ecosystems, animal behaviour, and biogeochemical cycles
  • Ecological consequences of climate change
  • Marine pollution and ocean acidification in an ecological context
  • Anthropogenic impact and management of arctic ecosystems


  • In-depth understanding of the concept system ecology
  • Ability to understand how physical and chemical forcing impacts arctic marine ecosystems
  • A thorough understanding of the impact of climate change in the Arctic
  • Understanding of ecosystem processes in the Arctic Ocean
  • Understand how changes on one level affect the ecosystem
  • Understand of the role of ice in marine ecosystems
  • Understand the role of time-scales for driving forces, organisms, ecosystems and processes

After the course the students should have general competence in:

  • How changes in one component of the ecosystem or driving forces influence the ecosystem as a whole
  • How ecosystem knowledge can be built by combining information from single studies of separate compartments and their couplings
  • Skills in reading and presenting research papers
  • Ability to evaluate and discuss a broad range of scientific topics related to the Arctic marine environment
  • The dynamics and processes of arctic marine ecosystems
  • Principles of knowledge-based resource management
  • How climate and anthropogenic impact can influence Arctic marine ecosystems

Language of instruction and examination


Teaching methods

3 double lectures per week, 1 seminar per week, 11 weeks duration

66 hours with lectures, 22 hours of seminar and questions, 150 hours of reading literature.


Oral exam. 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

Syllabus consists of selected articles and bookchapters.

Syllabus and reading list will be announced prior to course start.

Error rendering component

  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 10
  • Course code: BIO-3015