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Høst 2018

BIO-3016 Arctic-Alpine Terrestrial Plant Ecology - 10 stp

The course is administrated by

Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics

Type of course

Master course for biology students. This course can be taken as a single subject, or as part of a Masters study in Biology. It is most appropriate for Masters students of Terrestrial Ecology, and these students will be prioritized.

This course is highly relevant to students of Terrestrial Ecology who take their Masters within the group Northern Populations and Ecosystems. It is also relevant to Japanese students who study arctic or alpine ecology.

Course contents

Arctic-Alpine Terrestrial Plant Ecology

Similarities and differences between Arctic and alpine areas. Summer and Winter climate and role of snow. Biogeography/ species ranges / habitats/ tree line. Plant adaptations. Higher plants, mosses, lichens. Decomposition, soil and microbial interactions. The role of pollinators and herbivores. Carbon cycling. Effects of climatic change on arctic-alpine terrestrial ecosystems. The use of remote sensing for monitoring. Examples from limnology may also be presented. Information about Norwegian and Japanese terrestrial ecology and comparisons between them.

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.

Admission requirements

Admission requires a Bachelor in Biology or Ecology or Science with Biology/Ecology optional courses, and ideally be taken up for a Masters course.

Students should be able to demonstrate an appropriate level of English.

The course teaching and student participation is based on the principle of gender equality, and we aim to have equal numbers of female and male students and teaching staff.

The number of places available on this course is limited to 16 students, ie 8 students from each country (Norway and Japan).

The student participation in the field course will be subsidized by UiT. Funding for the course comes from SIU through a grant to Course Coordinator E.J. Cooper, so a special application and selection procedure will apply.

Interested students should contact directly on email. They should send a word document written in English with contact details, an outline of courses taken+ grades obtained and relevance of this course for their Masters degree.

For pictures and reports in the media about our project and from our joint fieldcourse near Alta in Autumn 2016, see attachments and links.

Objective of the course

Students will deepen their theoretical and practical understanding of Arctic-alpine terrestrial plant ecology. They will be exposed to a variety of vegetation types and experimental research activities and learn about project design, field data collection, plant identification, scientific methodology in the field and the lab.

This course will be held in English, so it will contribute to helping students to improve their English language reading, writing and oral communication skills.

This course is funded through a program enhancing cultural exchange between Norway and Japan, so it will also encourage students to learn about each others' country and culture.

Language of instruction

Teaching language: English

Exam language: English.

Teaching methods

Research based teaching

This course will be run in Autumn Semester 2018, and the field course in 2018 will be held in Norway. We aim to have an equal number of students from UiT Norway and from Japan.

Part 1. Lectures (3 hours) and seminar (1 hour) each week for 6-8 weeks. Own reading minimum 40 hours. Japanese cultural information and activities in addition (up to 10 hours). Language: English

Part 2. Individual project work, resulting in an essay/report. Language: English

Part 3: Field Course. Norwegian and Japanese students will have a 7-10 day field course together in Northern Norway. This will be held within the period  30. August -8 September 2018. Language: English.

The field course includes safety instruction, lectures, seminars, field excursions, lab work, field project and cultural exchange. Presentation of Masters topic and essay individually, presentation of field project work in groups.

Details of the field course will be confirmed later, but we intend to be based near Alta to carry out research Projects.

An obligatory safety course will be run at the start of the field course. Instruction will be given in English. Detailed information needed for participation in the field course will be given in good time.


Obligatory: Lectures, seminars, discussions of scientific papers, presentations, essay writing, field course with exercises, lab work and group work, discussions, field report writing.

Coursework requirements:

1. Seminar contributions during Autumn Semester

2. Oral Presentations in Field course


Portifolio assessment:  

Essay- to be delivered during Autumn term.

Individually written Fieldcourse Report

The final grade for the course is based upon a complete evaluation of the Essay and the Field course Report. The exam will be assessed with a graded scale of five marks from A to E for pass and F for fail.

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


Re-sit exam:

If the Written Fieldcourse Report or Essay is of unacceptable standard, the student will be given the opportunity to resubmit 2 weeks later.

Date for examination

Portfolio hand in date 12.12.2018;Essay hand in date 12.12.2018;Report hand in date 07.12.2018

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

Recommended reading/syllabus

The reading list will be comprised of English language scientific papers and information presented during lectures and field course.
Lectures Autumn 2018
First attendance: see schedule
Lectures prof. Elisabeth Joy Cooper