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Primary Producers of the Sea



Course format On-site
Date 2021-01-18 - 2021-03-24
Cost 29 750 SEK

The course focuses on up-to-date research aiming at deepen the knowledge about different aspects of benthic and planktonic primary producers together with their interactions with other organisms. The course is updated on a yearly basis. We concentrate on the following topics; toxic cyanobacterial blooms, how algal blooms are initiated, population genetics of diatoms, the role of benthic microalgae in the "coastal filter" and effects of increased ultraviolet radiation on Arctic/Antarctic primary producers. The course includes lectures, seminars and independent work.

This course is partly given at Sven Lovén Centre for Marine Infrastructure at Tjärnö.

More Information


University studies of a minimum of 75 credits in Biology with at least one in depth course of 15 credits in a relevant area. Applicants must prove their knowledge of English: English 6/English B from Swedish Upper Secondary School or the equivalent level of an internationally recognized test, for example TOEFL, IELTS

Grant opportunities

EU/EEA citizens, Swedish residence permit holders and exchange students do not pay fees. More information on:

Learning outcomes

The course focuses on marine benthic and pelagic primary producers, their diversity, role in carbon and nutrient cycling, as well as factors controlling their distribution and function in a local and global perspective. The role of anthropogenic impacts, such as climate change, eutrophication and introduced species, as well as the sustainability of primary producer communities, will be emphasized.

After completing the course the students will be able to:

Knowledge and understanding

  • Understand the role of marine primary producers in various marine ecosystems
  • Understand which factors control their distribution and function on different temporal and spatial scales
  • Understand how their diversity is reflected in evolutionary differences related to form, genetics, life strategies, ecophysiology and biochemistry
  • Apply modern techniques for studying ecophysiological, biogeochemical and evolutionary processes
  • Apply models to calculate growth and nutrient uptake rates to describe and understand competition between primary producers
  • Understand and discuss the outcome of anthropogenic impacts on marine primary producers on a local and global scale and if these impacts can be mitigated in the future
  • Understand the importance of an accurate experimental design for making relevant interpretations of the outcome of experiments

Competence and skills

  • Ability to carry out experiments in the laboratory to test hypotheses associated to primary production in the sea.
  • Ability to critically collect, examine, and discuss scientific literature in order to identify and summarize patterns of ecophysiology, complex interactions, biogeochemical processes associated to primary production in the sea

Judgement and approach

  • Apply and critically examine scientific literature in order to identify and summarize patterns and structures of often complex interactions
  • Manage to independently and critically analyze and synthesize knowledge on a specific topic found in scientific literature and present this in the form of a written report and an oral presentation

The course is sustainability-related, which means that at least one of the learning outcomes clearly shows that the course content meets at least one of the University of Gothenburg's confirmed sustainability criteria.


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