autumn 2022
BIO-3516 Food-webs and fisheries - 10 ECTS

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: 15 October for the spring semester and 15 April for the autumn semester.

Type of course

Master course for biology students and master students in fishery science. 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) or equivalent qualification, with a major in biology of minimum 80 ECTS.  

Course overlap

If you pass the examination in this course, you will get an reduction in credits (as stated below), if you previously have passed the following courses:

F-231 Biological basis of fisheries 10 stp

Course content

The course deals with how food-web models can be used to analyse topics of interest for fishery and ecosystem management. Lessons will give an overview of approaches and models used in fisheries management with emphasis on multispecies models. Local, regional and global perspectives on model strategies will be presented. We will describe principles regarding ecosystem services and resilience of ecosystems. In the course, we will use a food-web model system, Ecopath with Ecosim and Ecospace (EwE) and present the model principles. The students will learn guidance principles on how to incorporate information on input data and parameters to EwE, as well as principles for parameterising dynamic models and analyse and report uncertainty. 

In data lab exercises, we will apply EwE with hands-on training and construct food-web models. "Snap-shot" Ecopath models will be converted to dynamic models and forced by biological and physical variables. Exercises also include using a spatial module, Ecospace, targeting analysis of spatial effects of management actions such as Marine protected areas. 

In a supervised term paper project, a quantitative objective will be analysed using a model ending with a written report and an oral presentation.

Objectives of the course


  • Fisheries management principles, ecosystem-based management and ecosystem services  
  • Approaches and models used in fisheries assessment and ecosystem management 
  • Harvesting strategies and their potential effects on ecosystems 
  • Food-web model principles 
  • How to read, discuss and present scientific data and models 
  • Ecosystem resilience and resistance 


  • Incorporate information on food-consumption, growth and predation in a mass-balance model 
  • Build a mass-balance food-web model 
  • Convert a snap-shot mass-balance model to a dynamic Ecosystem model 
  • Use historical data and fit food-web models to observed time-series 
  • Use biological and physical drivers to force a dynamic food-web model 
  • Test effects of various harvesting strategies in a dynamic food-web model 
  • Use a spatial ecosystem model and test effects of spatial management actions (e.g Marine protected areas)  
  • Be able to give advice about how effects of food-web interactions should be taken in consideration in ecosystem management  
  • Analyse uncertainty by Monte Carlo simulations and report results from model output including measures of uncertainty 
  • Orally describe and discuss the topics above 
  • Explain and discuss themes related to food-web models and fisheries 
  • Write a term paper describing the use of a quantitative model to analyse an objective  
  • Give an oral presentation of a plan for the term paper 

General competence: 

  • Can demonstrate a broad insight in scientific basis for ecosystem management 
  • Can communicate academic issues and analyses regarding ecosystem management and fisheries  
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the IMRAD system for scientific reporting

Language of instruction and examination


Teaching methods

Lectures, data laboratory, seminar, writing term paper under supervision, oral presentation with feedback, self-studies.

Information to incoming exchange students

This course is open for inbound exchange students who meet the admission requirements. Please see "Admission requirements"  for more information.

Do you have questions about this module?  Please check the following website to contact the course coordinator for exchange students at the faculty:


Examination: Date: Weighting: Grade scale:
Assignment 25.11.2022 13:00 (Hand in) 4/10 A–E, fail F
Oral exam 6/10 A–E, fail F

Coursework requirements:

To take an examination, the student must have passed the following coursework requirements:

Oral presentation Approved – not approved
UiT Exams homepage

More info about the coursework requirements

Oral presentation of a plan for the term paper. 

Re-sit examination

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

Students who attempt another examination may keep their grade for the term paper. 

  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 10
  • Course code: BIO-3516
  • Earlier years and semesters for this topic