The course provides a thorough introduction to temperate coastal marine pelagic ecosystems. The course will give more specialized insights into organisms and ecological interactions of the pelagic realm of the North Atlantic focusing on the Skagerrak/North Sea regions. Mechanisms affecting abundance, seasonality and distribution of plankton and nekton in relation to the variability of oceanographic parameters will be discussed. Factors affecting survival, dispersal and distribution of fish during early life history stages will be detailed in relation to environmental variation and human activities.
Admission to the course is given on the same prerequisites as admission to the master program and includes either an integrated program of at least two years in biology/ecology or a major subject of at least 80 credits within biology/ecology. The minimum grade requirement is a weighted, average grade of C or better.
Upon completing the course, the students will
- understand the ecological interactions characteristic of the pelagic realm of the North Atlantic and be able to describe the dominant organisms of this system
- be able to discuss how physical and chemical drivers affect the ecosystem over time and space
- be able to compare pelagic ecosystems of different biogeographic regions
- have acquired knowledge of the diversity of fish life forms, and how these relate to the spatial and temporal dynamics of fish populations
- use reasoning to address ecological aspects of fish population dynamics, particularly during early life history stages
- be able to identify dominant pelagic organisms along the Agder coastline
- be able to formulate hypotheses and design studies to investigate questions related to pelagic ecology
- be able to write pertinent research proposals addressing ecological aspects plankton and fish population dynamics in relation to environmental variability
- have gained essential knowledge to design and perform marine sample surveys on pelagic marine communities to address scientific questions of pelagic ecology
- have acquired practical skills to collect, store and process marine organisms for downstream analyses