spring 2022
BIO-3518 From catchment to coast: Northern inland waters and global change - 10 ECTS

Application deadline

Concerns only admission to singular courses: Applicants from Nordic countries: 1 June for the autumn semester and 1 December for the spring semester. Exchange students and Fulbright students: 1 October for the spring semester and 15 April for the autumn semester.

Type of course

Master course for biology students - principally aimed at MSc-students specializing in Freshwater Ecology. The course is available as a singular course.

Admission requirements

Local admission, application code 9371 - - Master`s level singular course. Admission requires a Bachelor`s degree (180 ECTS) or equivalent qualification, with a major in biology of minimum 80 ECTS.

Course overlap

If you pass the examination in this course, you will get an reduction in credits (as stated below), if you previously have passed the following courses:

BIO-3518 Limnology 5 stp

Course content

Students will gain an interdisciplinary perspective on key physical, chemical and biological processes driving northern inland waters in the context of ongoing global change. The focus of the course is on the ecology of Arctic and subarctic aquatic ecosystems, including lakes and rivers, and taking a ‘catchment to coast’ approach. This course covers the following main subjects: limnology, hydrology, biogeochemistry, stream ecology, and food web ecology. In addition, ecological stoichiometry, ecosystem ecology, and meta-ecosystem ecology will be covered as sub-themes. The above-mentioned topics will also be presented in the context of how ongoing global changes, including changes to temperature, precipitation patterns, and chemical cycling can affect the ecology and biogeochemistry of northern inland waters and the ecosystem services they provide.

Recommended prerequisites

BIO-2017 Ecology

Objectives of the course

Students will learn:  

  • Fundamental concepts in limnology and freshwater ecology, with a focus on key physical, chemical and biological processes in northern streams, rivers and lakes  
  • The role of inland waters in the northern landscape, taking a ‘catchment to coast’ approach to understand links between land, inland waters and the sea.   
  • Key impacts of ongoing global change (climate change in particular) on northern inland waters and the services they provide  
  • Selected current field and lab methods in limnology and freshwater ecology, including analysis and interpretation of resulting data  


Students will have the ability to:  

  • Actively engage with scientific literature in the fields of limnology, freshwater ecology, and global change ecology  
  • Synthesize and integrate concepts presented in lectures, course readings, and hands-on activities  
  • Apply core methods in field sampling, lab analysis, and data interpretation  
  • Take an interdisciplinary and holistic approach when discussing key drivers, processes, and ongoing changes in northern inland waters, and how this understanding can be applied for management of these ecosystems.  


General competence:  

  • Acquire a critical view of published scientific literature on the topic  
  • Competence in leading discussion sessions with peers  
  • Understand scientific literature, interpret figures and data, write reports and present scientific literature to a diverse audience 

Language of instruction and examination


Teaching methods

The course is structured as a semi-intensive course taught over 5 weeks, including:   

  • a series of lectures and interactive seminars/discussions 
  • field trip followed by lab activities  
  • hands-on data analysis and presentation of results   
  • invited seminars to provide diverse perspectives  

The course field trip to Takvatn and the subsequent lab analysis will allow students to become acquainted with key freshwater field sampling and analytical methods, covering several aspects of the lake ecosystem.  

Information to incoming exchange students

This module is open for exchange students with bachelor’s degree in biology.

Do you have questions about this module? Please check this website to contact the course coordinator for exchange students at the faculty.


The exam includes a written exam (50% of grade), seminar presentation (25% of grade), and written assignments (25% of grade).  

Assessment will use a graded scale of five marks from A to E for pass and F for fail. 

Coursework requirement: 

In order to sit the final examination, the student must complete and gain approval for the following coursework requirements: 

  • Active participation in seminars, field and lab activities 
  • Submission of written assignments 

Approved work requirements have a duration of 3 years, from the semester in which the work requirements were taken. 

Re-sit exam: 

There will be a re-sit examination for the written exam only for students that did not pass the previous ordinary examination. 

  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 10
  • Course code: BIO-3518
  • Tidligere år og semester for dette emnet