Macroecology and Community Ecology

Course content

Species’ distribution and abundance from community to global scale:

  • Basics: Species concepts, Biomes, Biogeography
  • The role of history, evolution, climate, climate change and biotic interactions in shaping diversity patterns
  • Spatial diversity gradients: Area, Latitude, Altitude/depth, Isolation, Habitat diversity, Productivity
  • Temporal diversity gradients: Geological, Geomorphological, Historical, Evolutionary and Ecological time scales
  • Community scale: Niches, Filters, Competition, Mutualism, Disturbance, Succession, Species pools
  • Macro scale: Diversity-stability, Diversity-productivity, Equilibrium theory, Geometrical constraints, Vicariance, Speciation
  • Testing: Experimentation, Simulation, Null models

MSc Programme in Biology - restriced elective
MSc Programme in Nature Management - restricted elective
MSc Programme in Biology with a minor subject - restricted elective
MSc Programme in Environmental Science - restricted elective

Learning outcome


  • Knowledge on diversity patterns of organisms from local to global scale
  • Understanding of the processes that determine species distributions and abundances
  • Operational understanding of theories on how communities are assembled


  • Identify and describe diversity patterns from local to global scale
  • Suggest and investigate possible diversity pattern-shaping mechanisms
  • Evaluate, compare and elaborate theories behind diversity patterns
  • Apply and interpret relevant statistical tools and tests
  • Contribute on a scientific basis to debates concerning management of biodiversity in light of global changes in land-use and climate.


  • Ability to evaluate theories about diversity patterns and processes
  • Ability to use and interpret relevant computational tools and test methods
  • Conceptual basis to contribute to management practice and opinion formation

Two weekly two hours lectures.
Three to five exercise hours that may be:
Readings of papers
Operational exercises (mainly calculus)

See Absalon.

The course expands the bachelor courses Biodiversity and Conservation biology.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester

Written individual feedback on exercise reports. Oral collective feedback during classes.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
On-site written exam, 4 hours under invigilation
Exam registration requirements

It is mandatory to hand in  exercise reports and have them approved by the teacher.

All aids allowed

Digital Notes (It is allowed to upload notes for the ITX exam via digital exam. You will find a link to this feature from your exam in Digital Exam).

Access to Excel

Access to R/RStudio

Find more information about written on-site exams in the exam rooms, incl. information about standard programs on the exam PCs at KUnet.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
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
  • Lectures
  • 28
  • Class Instruction
  • 15
  • Preparation
  • 139
  • Practical exercises
  • 20
  • Exam
  • 4
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 block

Block 2
Study Board for the Biological Area
Contracting department
  • Globe
  • Department of Biology
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
Course Coordinators
  • Michael Krabbe Borregaard   (12-7371687578786b6d6767786a46797b746a34717b346a71)
  • Hans Henrik Bruun   (7-5b5b558588888153757c82417e8841777e)
Saved on the 27-02-2024

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Courseinformation of students