Marine Faunistics: Biology and Systematics of Marine Fish and Invertebrates

Course content

Morphology, biology and taxonomy of benthic and pelagic marine animals are studied by a series of lectures, on-site field work from both shore and boat, snorkeling, student presentations, exercises including species and habitat identification. The various taxonomic groups and research topics are treated by specialists.

The course provides an obvious opportunity for practical use of theoretical knowledge achieved during the BSc courses and MSc courses Marine Biology, Animal morphology and Danish Fauna – Vertebrates.


MSc Programme in Biology

Learning outcome


This course gives the participants a broad knowledge about

  • Collection methods
  • Identification of Danish marine fishes and benthic and pelagic invertebrates.
  • The morphology, biology and taxonomy of relevant marine animals.



By the end of the course the students are expected to have achieved the following skills:

  • Describe the morphology, biology and taxonomy of the larger groups of marine animal and relate it to both evolution and environment (habitat).
  • Identify Danish Marine fishes and species in the major, marine benthic invertebrate groups. 
  • Overall knowledge about the phylogeny and evolution of the major groups of marine animals  
  • Use techniques for collection and identification of marine meiofauna
  • Use techniques for collection and identification of holo- and meroplankton.



By the end of the course the students are expected to have achieved the following competences:

  • Relate the occurrence and composition of a specific benthic fauna to function, evolution and habitat
  • Be able to choose the optimal collection devise for a given type of bottom for a faunistic survey.
  • Be able to differentiate between gear used for qualitative and quantitative purposes and to perform a critical evaluation of the limits and benefits when making results and conclusions.
  • Plan and perform a quantitative bottom fauna investigation, including analysis and discussion of the results.

Field collecting, identification, laboratory experiments, group work, student presentations and lectures.

See Absalon

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.

The course is a residential course with students staying overnight at the Dan hostel in Helsingør. The students pay a supplement to the course expenses covering part of the food costs.
Notice that there is a certain degree of overlap between this course and the course Marinbiologisk Sommerkursus.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Continuous assessment
Type of assessment details
The student will be evaluated for their active participation and performance during the course.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
passed/not passed
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners

25 minutes oral examination in fauna identification, habitat relation and life strategies, as well as questions in learning outcome of related themes of the course. No preparation time and no aids. 


Criteria for exam assessment

See Learning outcome.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 10
  • Preparation
  • 129
  • Practical exercises
  • 32
  • Excursions
  • 22
  • Project work
  • 10
  • Seminar
  • 3
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master
19-25 August 2024
Summer course
The number of seats may be reduced in the late registration period
Study Board for the Biological Area
Contracting department
  • Department of Biology
  • The Natural History Museum of Denmark
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator
  • Katrine Worsaae   (8-707c74777866666a45676e7433707a336970)

Katrine Worsaae (BIO), Peter Rask Møller (SNM), Jørgen Olesen (SNM), Martin Vinter Sørensen (DTU-Aqua), Grete Dinesen (DTU-Aqua)

Saved on the 18-09-2023

Are you BA- or KA-student?

Are you bachelor- or kandidat-student, then find the course in the course catalog for students:

Courseinformation of students