3528.22 - Field Course in Ecology

Course number
Field Course in Ecology
A) Enrolled in the BSc degree in biology at the University of the Faroe Islands or B) Students admitted for a single course need the necessary pre-requisites in general biology and ecology, such as: General Biology; Plants and Animals on the Faroe Islands; Terrestrial Ecology; Marine Biology.
To learn how to collect biological and chemical samples in the field and how to conserve and analyze those samples. To learn how to identify the most common animal and plant species in aquatic and terrestrial environments and to study environmental influences on composition, distribution and abundance of plants and animals. To teach the student an ecological view of nature. To learn how to write scientific reports based on the collected data during the field course.
Aquatic ecology: River fauna will be collected and identified. We will be observing changes in the fauna down a river and factors causing these changes will be studied. Marine ecology: Benthic flora and fauna in a Faroese fjord will be collected from the littoral and sublittoral zone. Environmental influences on distribution and abundance will be studied. In the pelagic environment in a Faroese fjord, physical hydrography, light, nutrients, oxygen, primary production, phytoplankton and zooplankton will be studied. An ecological analysis of plankton and abiotic environmental parameters affecting plankton distribution, abundance, production and fluxes will be carried out. Terrestrial ecology: Various terrestrial experiments and field studies will be carried out depending on the weather conditions during the excursion week. The fieldwork will encompass measurements of the environment, and identifying plants and animals
Learning and teaching approaches
Field- and laboratory work and report writing. Compulsary attendence.
Learning outcomes
On completion of the course, the successful student should be able to: • Follow standard procedures and methods in finding sample sites used year after year for repeated studies. At the same time the student learns the importance of following these procedures and how to take samples at the various stations. • To do an overall habitat description of aquatic study areas and specific study sites. • Produce a taxonomic list over aquatic animals at a suitable study area using identification literature and keys and do a biodiversity comparison between various study areas. • Analyse the structural composition of a fjord and the importance this has for life in the fjord. • Identify the Secchi-depth and measure oxygen, temperature, depth, salinity and fluorescence using a so-called CTD (conductivity, temperature, depth). • Use the relationship between fluorescence and chlorophyll a to measure the biomass of phytoplankton. • Collect phyto- and zooplankton and analyse it in a laboratory using appropriate equipment. • Analyse type and amount of nutrients in seawater samples. • Analyse the amount og organic and inorganic material in sediments (The terrestrial part of the excursion is determined by the weather condition during the field excursion. The learning outcome will vary depending on what exercises will be chosen (points below). • Do a scientific comparison between biotopes by using pitfall-traps and plant-squares to study animals and plants at different localities and height above sea level. • Produce a taxonomic list containing terrestrial animals and plants at a suitable study area using various identification literature and keys and do a biodiversity comparison between various study areas. • Examine the microclimate of a habitat and its effect on plants and animals. • Study diurnal activity patterns at a seabird colony and its effect on number of birds in the colony • Study the soil fauna by using Berlese-trap. • Understand the effect and potential danger of an introduced species by studying relative abundance of the introduced “New Zealand flatworm” and earthworms in a suitable study area. • Understand the complex relationships in nature and how various parts of an ecosystem influence other parts and thus how the natural world has to be seen as an interconnected mechanism rather than a certain number of isolated
Assessment method
Approval of reports and presentations
Marking scale
Copied materials from manuals and handbooks handed out by the various teachers
Anni Djurhuus