Marine Community Ecology - Organisms and Habitats

Postgraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

Community ecology is about how species interact and coexist and thereby form groups of populations that we refer to as communities. The course provides an introduction to this topic through studies of marine communities. We provide an overview of different kinds of marine communities and the main characteristics of their organisms and environments. We focus on how organisms have adapted to their habitats and how species influence each other to form the structure and dynamics in a community. In particular, we will study the interactions between predators and prey and emphasize how communities vary over time (such as through the year). We will also study how humans impact marine communities. Furthermore, we will zoom in on some selected adaptations and processes that impact community dynamics and perform smaller literature based research projects on those topics.

We read the book Marine Community Ecology and Conservation (2013) by Bertness et al.

Learning Outcomes


The candidate can:

  • describe different kinds of marine communities and habitats and the main characteristics of these communities with respect to the physical and biological environment
  • analyze and evaluate potential explanations for relationships between environmental characteristics and the evolutionary adaptations of organisms
  • apply ecological theory to explain how individuals and species can impact each other and how these interactions impact structure and dynamics of communities
  • explain how humans impact marine communities and habitats, for instance through harvesting, area use, pollution, and global warming.


The candidate can:

  • discuss and problematize the field of marine community ecology, both in writing and orally
  • formulate relevant research questions within the field
  • answer research questions by searching and reading relevant scientific literature

General competence

The candidate can:

  • write a project report which synthesizes and discusses findings from a literature study
  • reflect around knowledge and research and how a research field, such as marine community ecology, develops

ECTS Credits


Level of Study

Bachelor (advanced) and master.

Semester of Instruction


This course has a limited capacity, enrolment is based on application. The application deadline is Wednesday in week 2 for the spring semester. Please see this page for more information. You will receive confirmation of whether you received a seat in Studentweb no later than Monday the week after the deadline.

It is compulsory to attend the first lecture/orientation meeting, or you risk losing your seat. If you are unable to attend the first lecture, you must contact the Study Section ( The time of the first lecture/orientation meeting can be found in the schedule on the course website or on Mitt UiB.

Place of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
Compulsory courses in bachelor's in biology, or equivalent courses.
Recommended Previous Knowledge
BIO213 Marine Ecology, Environment and Resources (10 ECTS)
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
There is 10 ECTS overlap with MAR212 Marine Community Ecology - Organisms and Habitats (discontinued course).
Access to the Course

In order to be admitted to the course, you must be admitted to a study programme at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences and fulfill required previous knowledge.

Teaching and learning methods
Lectures, seminars and quolloquia.
Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
Forms of Assessment
  • Written report, accounts for 40% of total grade.
  • Oral exam, accounts for 60% of total grade.
  • In order to pass the course, you must pass both assessment modules. A Fail/F in one of the modules means you automatically fail the course.

    Grading Scale
    The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade, grade F is a fail.
    Assessment Semester
    Oral exam in both semesters. In semesters with no teaching, the oral exam will be take place at the beginning of the semester, and the grade for the written report (40%) from the previous semester will be included in the final grade.
    Reading List
    The literature list will be available 1st of July for autumn semester and 1st of December for the spring semester.
    Course Evaluation
    Students will evaluate the course in accordance with the quality assurance system at UiB and the Department. You can find course evaluations in the Quality Assurance Reports.
    Examination Support Material
    Programme Committee
    The Programme Board is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the course.
    Course Administrator
    The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences by the Department of Biological Sciences has the administrative responsibility for the course.