CANCELLED: Introduction to Arctic Ecosystems

Course content

The course will provide a broad introduction to how terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in the Arctic have developed, are structured and will function under various environmental conditions as well as a deeper understanding of important groups of organisms, their life cycles, adaptations to arctic conditions and how they interact. The ecosystems responses to climate changes and to direct human activities (e.g., hunting, fishing, tourism and exploration of minerals) will be demonstrated and debated.

The course addresses students and academics from any disciplines and a prior understanding of basic life sciences will be an advandtage. However, care will be taken to implement a good understanding of basic biological terminology and approaches to enable the students a profound understanding of the arctic ecological processes and paradigms at an academic level.

The course is structured with forth running lectures, theoretical/practical exercises and excursions to museum collections of minerals, flora and fauna. Invited guest lectures will provide insight to management and monitoring aspects. The students will furthermore be challenged through own (mandatory) presentations (individually and in groups) of relevant arctic issues. 

Learning outcome


  • Basic terminology of physical, chemical and living conditions in the Arctic

  • Structure and function of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems

  • Implications of climate changes on organisms and their interactions with the environment

  • Strategies for management and monitoring in the Arctic ecosystem


  • Describe the structure and function of terrestrial and aquatic Arctic ecosystem

  • Explain important biological processes in Arctic ecosystems

  • Understand the influences of climate changes on populations and ecosystems in the Arctic

  • Extract knowledge from the literature and use it to pinpoint specific questions related to e.g. sensibility of arctic ecosystems to disturbances


  • Analyse, outline and present complex relationships between arctic ecosystems and their environments

  • Facilitate a discussion on the consequences of natural and human activities on arctic ecosystems

  • Formulate research, management and monitoring needs for the Arctic.

Lectures, theoretical/practical exercises, excursions, demonstrations, debates and mini-symposium

Text books, primary literature (papers), reports, official documents etc.
See Absalon for further information.

This course is part of the arctic coursework at UCPH. See more at

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination, 2 hours under invigilation
The exam consists of 20 multiple choice questions, 1 short essay and 2-4 other types of questions
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
One internal examiner
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.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 2
  • Preparation
  • 76
  • Lectures
  • 40
  • Project work
  • 40
  • Theory exercises
  • 24
  • Practical exercises
  • 24
  • English
  • 206