The Arctic is changing fast, both in terms of climate warming and in how organisms interact with each other. To understand the implications of such changes, we need to understand how Arctic ecosystems are structured, and how Arctic species are interlinked by complex, live interactions, such as predation and herbivory. In short, we need modern theory on ecological interactions, and on networks of interactions, to understand Arctic ecology and the challenges it is facing. Learning such theories – and applying them for real – that is what this course is about.
The Zackenberg field station in Northeast Greenland offers unique infrastructure for such a course, along with unparalleled background information on the local ecosystem. This will be the first course in Arctic ecology organized in this setting, taking advantage of the insights into this High-Arctic ecosystem generated by more than 20 years of intensive research.
The aim of the course is to provide students a solid understanding of the basics of Arctic ecology, of field methods applicable under remote and harsh conditions, and on how to design a research project in a new area. After attending this course, the student understands the basic principles of ecological interactions, including networks, in general, of Arctic interactions in particular, and the specific features distinguishing Arctic ecosystem from ecosystems in other parts of the world. He or she can apply this knowledge to understanding how Arctic ecosystems may respond to current and future changes.
The course links directly to the objective of the field station, and will allow this facility to be used for the very purpose it was created: to disseminate insights in Arctic ecology, to facilitate the exchange of ideas among young Arctic researchers, and train future expertise in how to account for the specific fragility of Arctic ecosystems.
The course Arctic Ecology – live interactions in the midst of ice is aimed at MSc students in ecology affiliated with a university within the NordPlus network. To make real use of the course, we expect that you have attended at least basic courses in population and community ecology, and are familiar with the general features of the Arctic. Note that in selecting the students, we will aim for equal representation of Nordic countries.
Links to Information about application and Zackenberg Research Station can be found here.
|Language of instruction|
|Institution||University of Helsinki|
|Fields of study||Basic/broad, general programmes|
|Teaching place||Zackenberg Research Station, Northeast Greenland, Kingdom of Denmark|