Postgraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

During lectures, tutorials and project work the students are taught in global and regional patterns in biodiversity, how biodiversity is quantified, values of biodiversity, threats against biodiversity and actions to describe and conserve biodiversity.


Learning Outcomes

This course has five components: required readings; (few) formal and informal lectures; student presentations; discussions; student projects. Besides giving deeper insight into selected subject matter, the presentations help students develop critical appraisal skills and provide them with an opportunity to develop and polish teamwork skills as well as oral communication skills. The student projects allow students to explore in greater detail and develop expertise in one subject area and help them develop written communication skills.


Having acquired the central vocabulary and concepts of the biodiversity research via these five activities, students should be capable of reading and understanding much of the primary literature (and review articles or books) dealing with aspects of biodiversity. They should be able to explain and use a wide variety of biodiversity facts and processes:


  • The elements of biodiversity; measures of biodiversity.
  • Phylogenetic distribution of biodiversity.
  • Species concepts; folk taxonomy.
  • Patterns of biodiversity on an evolutionary time scale; processes of diversification and extinction.
  • Global and regional patterns of biodiversity (such as latitudinal or altitudinal gradients); hotspots; endemism.
  • Island biogeography theory, species' area effect.
  • Threats to biodiversity; climate change and biodiversity.
  • New ways of thinking about conservation; ecotourism.


Students should also be able to identify the potential direct and indirect values of organisms and wild lands, and be able to argue for or against the uses of economic values and intrinsic values in nature preservation.

Semester of Instruction

Autumn, irregular. The course will not be taught in fall 2023.


This course has a limited capacity, enrolment is based on application. The application deadline is Wednesday in week 33 for the autumn 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.

Required Previous Knowledge
Bachelor in Biology, or equivalent.
Recommended Previous Knowledge

 Basic knowledge in biology (especially evolution and ecology).


Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

 Attendance, approved group work, semester project. Approved mandatory activities are valid for 6 semesters, inlcuding the semester of completion.




Forms of Assessment
 portfolio assessment 
Grading Scale
The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade in the grading scale, grade F is a fail.