Swedish nature

Swedish nature 5 credits

A course for master and exchange students at Uppsala University

Aim
The course will give an overview of boreal and northern temperate ecosystems and their natural history, including the effects of climate, history, geology and human impact. After the course the student should be able to

  • describe important groups of organisms and prominent species in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and their adaptations,
  • explain in basic terms how these ecosystems are structured and affected by climate, physical factors and human impact,
  • apply some field techniques to assess diversity and abundance

Course syllabus

Contents
All teaching will take place at our two field stations, Norr Malma in eastern central Sweden (80 km east of Uppsala) and the marine biology station Klubban on the Swedish west coast (500 km west-south-west of Uppsala).

We focus on ecosystems that dominate the northern temperate and the southern boreal zones. Focus is on ecosystem structure and adaptations of organisms, and the content therefore makes it possible to compare with similar ecosystems in other parts of the world.

Each ecosystem will be introduced in a lecture, focussing on important processes, such as productivity, nutrient limitations, soil processes and other abiotic factors. However, most of the time will be spent on excursions to give hands-on experience. In the field the students will collect data on the life form variation (e.g., deciduous – winter green, trees – shrubs – herbs – bryophytes) and prominent species. Standardized quantitative methods to analyse the structure and species composition will be introduced. The students will work in small groups under guidance of experienced teachers. As examination, student groups will present the results from the ecosystems at the evening sessions.

Lectures will also cover the physical geography and natural history of Sweden, knowledge that is essential for an understanding of ecosystem properties.

A typical Swedish red cottage painted with the traditional "Falu rödfärg" - the red paint from Falun. This colour was originally made in Falun and contains residues from the copper mining industry in Falun. Read more about Falu red