BI3060 - Experimental Marine Ecological Methods


Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: Oral examination
Grade: Letters

Evaluation Weighting Duration Grade deviation Examination aids
Muntlig eksamen 100/100 E

Course content

The course introduces a selection of key scientific methods for environmental and resource-oriented scientific studies of marine ecosystems, with an emphasis on surface seawater (open waters) studies. Such studies often aim to establish knowledge on the ecological and chemical state of the ecosystem based on measurements of physical, chemical and biological environmental variables. These are requirements set by environmental legislation; the OSPARCOM Convention and other European legislation. The course introduces how such investigations can be conducted and reported. Emphasis is placed on both theoretical knowledge, hands-on experience with methods, compiling results into a report where assessment of environmental sustainability has a focus.

Private and public actors are conducting such surveys today. Their aim can be to assess a site's ability to assimilate biogenic (non-toxic) emissions from human activity (carrying capacity), to determine the environmental footprint of salmon production in a coastal region, or to assess the ecological status of surface water bodies in a fjord/region. The course provides general knowledge of mechanisms relevant to understanding algae blooms, some toxic, in coastal waters and, with that, a basis for early warning of such blooms. General knowledge is important for understanding events on a scientific basis and thereby reducing the use and erosion of the important precautionary principle.

The course includes lectures and two intensive periods of laboratory/field work. In the first period, there is a demonstration and practical implementation of important methods for measuring physical environment, nutrients in the water masses and biomass and the activity of important groups of organisms. This is done through smaller experiments where water samples are taken and analysed. The results are used, together with the theoretical knowledge in the course, to determine the ecological and chemical state of the water bodies in the Trondheim Fjord. An individual report will be prepared based on the results and their interpretation, a report that has the format of a scientific publication. In the second period, other and more advanced measurement methods for marine research, including methods that generate large digitized data sets, will be described and demonstrated in the laboratory or in the sea.

The course will provide a basis for a deeper understanding of methods more briefly treated in BI3061, new MSc course "Enabling technology for marine ecological studies" and BI3067, all courses in the MSOCEAN study program.

Learning outcome

A candidate with a completed exam should have the following learning outcomes in terms of knowledge, skills and competence:

Knowledge is an understanding of theories, facts, concepts, principles and procedures in scientific fields and/or professions. After completing the course, the candidate should have:

• Detailed scientific knowledge of, and "hands-on" experience with, methods for investigating ecological and chemical state of marine ecosystems, including environmental sustainability related to human activity in coastal waters
• Comprehensive knowledge of the scientific and legal basis for environmental and resource-oriented studies of marine ecosystems in marine surface waters and be familiar with how such studies are conducted and reported in a scientific format
• Have a scientific methodological foundation as a basis, and be able to expand this to answer new questions in the field, including questions about the impact and sustainability of the coastal zone benthic ecosystem
• Be familiar with past and recent development of relevant methodology in the subject area, and based on this, be able to analyze new issues related to the marine environment and resources area

Skills are the ability to apply knowledge to solve problems and tasks. After completing the course, the candidate should, based on new knowledge, be able to:

• Based on methodological knowledge, be able to critically evaluate different sources of information on new relevant methods that can be used in the assessments/studies of surface water ecosystem, but also of other ecosystems such as the benthic
• Analyze and evaluate the scientific relevance and suitability of various methods for specific investigations of environmental and resource issues in coastal waters, among these newer digital methods that generate large datasets
• Use new and established methods to independently determine ecological and chemical states as well as potential influences on environmental sustainability in coastal waters affected by human activity
• Participate in research project and under supervision be able to carry out an independent part of the work and report the results in a scientific format

General competence is to be able to apply knowledge and skills independently in different situations in educational and professional contexts by showing collaboration ability, responsibility, ability to reflect and critical thinking. Upon completion of the course, the candidate should, based on his new knowledge and skills, be able to:

• Have an active relationship to relevant issues within the scientific basis of the field and with ethical issues of research, especially aimed to marine environmental issues related to sustainability
• Apply their knowledge and skills to carry out advanced projects and other tasks in their field, including tasks relevant to other marine ecosystems
• Master written and oral scientific rhetoric’s as a basis for dissemination and other communication
• Communicate academic issues and important conclusions within their methodical subject area with professional experts, colleagues and with the public
• Contribute to new concepts and methodology for mapping the environment and resources in marine sites, with a special focus on future digitized environmental surveying and monitoring

Learning methods and activities

The course's core curriculum is lectures (approximately 20 hours), selected scientific articles provided by subject teachers and uploaded in Blackboard. Besides, the course involves laboratory/field work, which are compulsory and are conducted for two periods (each 3-4 days, in September and October). The laboratory/field work includes demonstrations and training to undertake and learn selected methods, sampling, and small field experiments. An individual report, written in a scientific format, should be prepared and delivered for approval for the first period.
Compulsory assignments
Attendance in field and laboratory work and approved report

Compulsory assignments

  • Field work
  • Report

Further on evaluation

Supplementary regulations UTF §5-6 at NTNU applicable for re-sit examinations (oral and written) in science courses are:
1. Final examination in each semester -for courses with prefix BI, IT and KJ a final examination is held during the examination period every semester.
2. New assessment incase of “fail” - please refer to the course description for details on which components of the course need to be retaken in case of re-assessment.

Course materials

Lectures, method descriptions, scientific publications

Credit reductions

Course code Reduction From To
MNKBI360 7.5
More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Second degree level


Term no.: 1
Teaching semester:  AUTUMN 2020

Language of instruction: English

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Biotechnology/Aqua Culture
  • Water Engineering in Fish Farming
  • Marine Technology
  • Aqua Culture
  • Biology
  • Biotechnology
  • Marine Biology
  • Marine Topics
Contact information
Course coordinator: Lecturer(s):

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Biology


Examination arrangement: Oral examination

Term Status code Evaluation Weighting Examination aids Date Time Examination system Room *
Autumn ORD Muntlig eksamen 100/100 E
Room Building Number of candidates
Spring ORD Muntlig eksamen 100/100 E
Room Building Number of candidates
  • * The location (room) for a written examination is published 3 days before examination date. If more than one room is listed, you will find your room at Studentweb.

For more information regarding registration for examination and examination procedures, see "Innsida - Exams"

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