Subject description for 2021/2022

Ecosystem Resilience (BI313F)

Ecosystem Resilience


Course description

High North ecosystems support extraordinarily rich marine resources, which provide food and wealth to local communities. The shelf water act as spawning and nursery areas for the large commercial fish stocks, but the climate threat is about to restructure traditional marine habitats. This course focuses on traditional and novel methods for analysing the dynamics and resilience of marine food webs, including quantitative approaches. Practical training in the use of different statistical methods on selected benthic biotopes will be offered.


No costs except semester registration fee and syllabus literature.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course:


The candidate¿

  • Has advanced knowledge on theories about ecosystem resilience and stability as well as related subjects such as disturbance theory, succession, food web structure, ecosystem functioning and management approaches
  • Has specialized insights in resilience and stability of marine ecosystems
  • Can apply the knowledge to different new aspects within the research field


The candidate¿

  • Can critically analyse scientific information and debate about it in a group using scholarly arguments
  • Can analyse existing theories about ecosystem resilience and apply knowledge independently on scientific and practical problems


General Competence

The candidate¿

  • Can communicate about scientific findings and conclusions to audiences with various background
  • Can critically reflect alone and in a group on scientific findings and carry out independent and advanced project work
  • Masters the terminology used in the field of ecosystem dynamics research

Course type

Elective: MSc in Marine Ecology.


Students qualified for admission to MSc in Marine Ecology og MSc in Aquaculture are eligible for this course.

Mode of delivery

Face-to-face teaching.

Teaching activities and methods

The course has multiple teaching approaches.

Course evaluation

Course evaluation: Mid-term oral evaluation with written report, electronic evaluation at the end of the semester.

Assessment and examinations

Compound evaluation, grading scale A-E for pass, F for fail
  • Take- home examination, individual, 3 days, comprises 30/100 of the grade, grading scale A-E for pass, F for fail.
  • Oral Examination, comprises 70/100 of the grade, grading scale A-E for pass, F for fail.

Course literature

Begon, Harper Townsend (2005). Ecology - From Individuals to Ecosystems. Blackwell Publishing, pp. 725. -> Chapters 20 (23p); Chapter 16 (29p.)

Dunne, J.A., R.J. Williams, et al. (2004) Network structure and robustness of marine food webs. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 273, 291-302. (11p)

Frank, K.T., B. Petrie, et al. (2005) Trophic cascades in a formerly cod-dominated ecosystem. Science, 308(5728), 1621-1623 (3p)

Hutchings, J.A. (2000) Collapse and recovery of marine fishes. Nature, 406(6798), 882-885. (4p)

McCann, K.S. (2000) The diversity-stability debate. Nature, 405(6783), 228-233. (5p)

Stachowicz, J.J., J.F. Bruno, et al. (2007) Understanding the effects of marine biodiversity on communities and ecosystems. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, 38(1), 739-766. (27p)

Svensson, J.R., M. Lindegarth, et al. (2007) Maximum species richness at intermediate frequencies of disturbance: Consistency among levels of productivity. Ecology, 88(4), 830-838. (8p)

In addition, selected literature relevant for the student project and presentations. Thus, the reading list is subject to amendments at semester start.

Course coordinator
Start semester Spring 2022
ECTS Credits 5 Course location Bodø Faculty
Faculty of Biosciences and Aquaculture