Advanced Ecology

Course content

A high-level introduction to ecological and evolutionary processes, including trophic interactions and within- and between-species interactions.


MSc Programme in Biology
MSc Programme in Agriculture
MSc Programme in Biology with a minor subject

Learning outcome


  • Ecological and evolutionary processes
  • Key concepts, theories and hypotheses in ecology and evolutionary biology
  • The spatial and temporal distribution of species and organisms
  • The biology of bacteria, fungi, protists, plants and animals of importance to ecosystem function and/or which are typical of different environments
  • The function of marine, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems and their interaction with local, regional and/or global systems, including global change
  • Conversion of energy and matter in ecosystems, mediated by organisms
  • Practical and societal aspects of knowledge in ecology and evolution


  • Hypothesize, independently formulate and conduct empirical studies/experiments, in the field and in the laboratory, and explain, communicate and put into perspective a scientific problem, both orally and in writing
  • Use relevant experimental techniques, methods of quantification and equipment, both in the field and in the laboratory, including the competences required to evaluate the complexity of the data collected, sources of error and methodological uncertainties
  • Summarise - orally and in writing - a research subject using original scientific literature as the basis
  • Make the case for a scientific thesis using empirical knowledge and scientific inference
  • Use quantitative, including statistical, methods of relevance to the subject area


  • Understand and present the structure and function of complex ecosystems
  • Manage, advice on, and conduct research into ecosystems, based on in-depth biological knowledge
  • Illustrate and analyse a biological phenomenon by distinguishing between immediate (how?) and evolutionary (why?) causes and explanations
  • Explain and discuss the distribution and density of species on both a local, regional and global scale
  • Explain the important physical, chemical and biological characteristics of different ecosystems, and understand how organisms adapt and respond to changes in them
  • Analyse the occurrence and activity of organisms in relation to the physical/chemical environment
  • Explain and discuss the evolutionary adaptations of organisms to a given environment and their behaviour in relation to/response to both members of the same species and individuals of other species
  • Evaluate interactions between individuals at different trophic levels, e.g. plants/herbivores, prey/predators, and host organisms/parasites/mutualists/diseases

Teaching will follow three main lines:
- Code-based teaching will involve visits to one or a few locations and investigate them using relevant methods. We will investigate water, soil, biotic communities (flora, fauna, microbes etc.) and processes in the field and subsequentlig during laboratory work.
- Concurrently, question-driven teaching will focus on the theory of ecological, behavioural, and evolutionary principles and will consist of lectures, seminars, and computer-based exercises.
- Problem-based learning is applied in an individual essay, which aims at answering ecological questions using empirical data and scientific inference.

See Absalon

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination, 3 hours under invigilation
Written assignment, individual essay 9 days
Evaluation based on individual written exam and individual essay. The written exam contributes 70% of the final grade, while the individual essay contributes 30%.
Only certain aids allowed

Books, exercise instructions, articles used in class, own notes, calculator and tablet/computer. Use of internet is not allowed.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners
Criteria for exam assessment

In order to obtain the grade 12 the student should convincingly and accurately demonstrate the knowledge, skills and competences described under Learning Outcome.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 3
  • Preparation
  • 75
  • Lectures
  • 25
  • Colloquia
  • 15
  • Excursions
  • 8
  • Project work
  • 50
  • Practical exercises
  • 30
  • English
  • 206