Plant functional traits international fieldcourse

Postgraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content


The course aims to equip students with the essential background knowledge and the practical field, lab, and computational skills needed for conducting their own research within trait-based ecology.


The course offers hands-on training in different applications of plant functional traits ecology within a real-life research project setting. During the course, students will collect and explore plant functonal trait data in the field and use trait-based approaches within climate change research and ecosystem ecology.

students will be introduced to the environmental, ecological, and taxonomic diversity of the region, and given hands-on instruction in relevant theory and methods of ecophysiology; community, ecosystem, and climate change ecology; population biology; computational biology; and data mangagement. The students will work in groups, focusing ogn the specific research projects within trait-based ecology; such as leaf functional trait responses aacross climate gradients, trait-based approaches to leaf ecophysiology, the role of traits in species' interactions, ecosystem functioning such as Co2-flux, and asessing canopy traits through reflectance spectra. The course results will be written us as a data documentation paper. The course also includes a Science communication Module focused om local perceptions of climate change.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student

  • has an overview over the environmental, ecological, and taxonomic diversity of the course study system and region
  • has a working understanding of the theory and methodologies of functional trait-based ecology
  • is familiar with the recent researcj literature and a diversity of approaches in plant functional trait-based ecology


The student

  • can measure plant functional traits and related plant community, physiology, and ecological data using the standard protocols
  • can operate relevant field and lab equipment in trait-based ecology and coduct ecological field measurements
  • can create and document a project data workflow according to best-practice data management and reproducible coding

General competence

The student

  • can plan and conduct a research field campaign
  • effectively collaborates and communicates science
  • discuss broader issues relating to public perceptions and climate and climate change research

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Semester of Instruction

Autumn or spring semester.

This course has a limited capacity, enrolment is based on application. The application deadline is Wednesday in week 2/33 for the spring/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.

Place of Instruction

Variable. The course is taught at an alpine field locality or field station where the course leaders or collaborators have actie research projects.
Required Previous Knowledge
Recommended Previous Knowledge
General background in biology and good knowledge in plant ecology, plant physiology or ecosystem ecology
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
Access to the Course
In order to be admitted to the course, you must be admitted to a master¿s programme or the doctoral education (PhD) programme at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.
Teaching and learning methods
The teaching is given in the form of an intensive two-week field trip to a mountainous area where the course leaders or collaborators have ongoing research projects. The field excursion will provide practical ecperience with fieldwork, lab work, and data handling, as well as writing data documentation and articles.
Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Attendance and participation in all planned course activities before, under and after the field excursion. Pre- and post-course activities will be digital and can be done remotely.

This course has mandatory field work/scientific cruise and has course coasts. The amount will be announced at course start.

Grading Scale
Reading List
The reading list will be available within July 1st for the autumn semester and December 1st 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 courseevaluations in the Quality Assurance Reports.
Examination Support Material
Programme Committee
The Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses.
Course Administrator
The Faculty og Mathematics and Natural Sciences - Department of Biological Sciences has the responsibility for the course and study programme