autumn 2018

BIO-8006 Environmental systems: integrating monitoring, research and management - 10 ECTS

Sist endret: 01.03.2019

The course is provided by

Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics


Tromsø |

Application deadline

Registration deadline for PhD students at UiT - The Arctic University of Norway: September 1st.

Application deadline for other applicants: June 1st.

Type of course

A course for PhD students in environmental sciences. The course can be taken as a singular course.

Admission requirements

PhD students or holders of a Norwegian master´s degree of five years or 3+ 2 years (or equivalent) may be admitted. PhD students must upload a document from their university stating that there are registered PhD students. This group of applicants does not have to prove English proficiency and are exempt from semester fee.

Holders of a Master´s degree must upload a Master´s Diploma with Diploma Supplement / English translation of the diploma. Applicants from listed countries must document proficiency in English. To find out if this applies to you see the following list:

Proficiency in English must be documented - list of countries

For more information on accepted English proficiency tests and scores, as well as exemptions from the English proficiency tests, please see the following document:

Proficiency in english - PhD level studies

PhD students at UiT register for the course through StudentWeb. The registration for autumn semester starts in the middle of June.

Other applicants apply for admission through SøknadsWeb. Application code 9303.

Contact Ingjerd Gauslaa Nilsen at the BFE-faculty if you have troubles or questions regarding registration to the course.

Course content

Two important challenges in environmental sciences are to assess how human drivers impact on environmental systems and the effectiveness of management policies to adapt or mitigate these impacts. Answering these challenges implies we need to set up multidisciplinary monitoring systems that can efficiently measure changes and identify causes of changes for entities that, more often than not, are monitored on incongruent scales. The course therefore aims at integrating monitoring, research and management around three themes:

For climate systems, the course will, with an emphasis on the Arctic region, utilize local, regional and global examples of utilizing data and models in combination to assess monitoring systems ability to detect and attribute climate change. The examples will be utilized for conceptual discussions of strategies for designing climate monitoring systems on a cascade of scales.

For ecological systems, the course will illustrate the basic concepts of ecosystem functioning and management, and how climate interacts with other drivers to affect ecosystem dynamics, with the use of case studies from terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems.

For the relationships between society, climate and ecological systems, the course will in particular focus on how society involvements can be made operational within adaptive monitoring/management framework.

For each theme, the course will rely on concrete case studies from northern regions, as well as presentations of general principles, such as adaptive management and monitoring.

Objectives of the course

After the course the students should have knowledge about:

  • principles of adaptive management
  • principles of adaptive monitoring
  • examples of monitoring systems of northern climate systems
  • examples of monitoring systems of northern marine environments
  • examples of monitoring systems of northern freshwater environments
  • examples of monitoring systems of northern terrestrial environments


  • Identification of relevant scales and design of climate monitoring systems
  • Identification of relevant scales and design of ecosystem monitoring program
  • Multidisciplinary dialogue between climate, ecosystem and social sciences

General competence:

  • Be able to critically assess monitoring programs
  • Evaluate the integration of monitoring objectives and design
  • Assess societal involvement in monitoring programs
  • Knowledge of northern social-ecological systems

Language of instruction


Teaching methods

Lectures: 30 hours, seminars: 30 hours.


Oral exam. Grade: Pass/fail.

There will not be arranged a re-sit exam for this course.

Date for examination

Oral examination 16.11.2018

The date for the exam can be changed. The final date will be announced in the StudentWeb early in May and early in November.


Recommended reading/syllabus

The curriculum will consist of scientific papers presenting the scientific principles of adaptive management and monitoring as well as concrete examples of monitoring systems of northern systems.

Some papers are listed below:

Lindenmayer, D.B., et al. (2018) Earth Observation Networks (EONs): finding the right balance. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 33, 1-3.

Dietze, M.C, et al. (2018) Iterative near-term ecological forecasting: needs, opportunities, and challenges. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115, 1424-1432.

Roberts, A., et al. (2018) Strengthening links between waterfowl research and management. Journal of Wildlife Management, 82, 260-265.

Parrott, L. (2017) The modelling spiral for solving "wicked" environmental problems: guidance for stakeholder involvement and collaborative model development. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 8, 1005-1011.

Campbell, C.A., et al. (2015) Designing environmental research for impact. Science of the Total Environment, 534, 4-13.

Nichols, J.D., et al. (2015) On formally integrating science and policy: walking the walk. Journal of Applied Ecology, 52, 539-543.

Adams, W.M. (2014) The value of valuing nature. Science, 346, 549-551.

Cook, C.N., et al. (2014) Strategic foresight: how planning for the unpredictable can improve environmental decision-making. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 29, 531-541.

Lindenmayer, D.B. & Likens, G.E. (2009) Adaptive monitoring: a new paradigm for long-term research and monitoring. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 24, 482-486.

Nichols, J.D. & Williams, B.K. (2006) Monitoring for conservation. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 21, 668-673.


Hamel, Sandra

Telefon: +4777623169

Nigel Yoccoz

Telefon: +4777646884

Ingjerd - Branno.png

Nilsen, Ingjerd Gauslaa

Rådgiver, ph.d.-utdanningen
Telefon: +4777646018


PhD students enrolled at UiT register for the course through StudentWeb

Other applicants apply for admission through SøknadsWeb. Choose the application code 9303and write the course code (BIO-8006) in the remark field. You'll find a manual for SøknadsWeb here.

Remember to upload documentation of your education or documentation of your status as a PhD student. Applicants who can document their status as a PhD student are exempt to pay the semester fee.