Syllabus for Ecological Methods

Ekologisk metodik

A revised version of the syllabus is available.


  • 15 credits
  • Course code: 1BG324
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Biology A1N
  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
  • Established: 2007-03-15
  • Established by: The Faculty Board of Science and Technology
  • Revised: 2011-04-27
  • Revised by: The Faculty Board of Science and Technology
  • Applies from: Autumn 2011
  • Entry requirements:

    120 credits including alt 1) 40 credit points/60 credits biology and 20 credit points/the chemistry of 30 credits or 20 credit points/30 credits earth science . alt 2) 60 credit points/90 credits biology.

  • Responsible department: Biology Education Centre

Learning outcomes

The overall aim of the course is to give deeper knowledge about ecological methods by teaching the participants to plan, carry out, compile, and critically review and evaluate ecological inventories and mappings. The course also gives skills that are intended to be applied within ecological environmental monitoring. On completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  • describe common methods used for ecological inventories and mapping activities.
  • describe national monitoring programs in Sweden.
  • understand and apply instructions in standardised monitoring program.
  • evaluate and compare alternative methods for specific inventory and mapping purpose, and thereby be able to identify/justify the more relevant methods for different aims.
  • independently plan and carry out good ecological inventories and mappings of various taxa.
  • describe and evaluate the use of indicator species within environmental monitoring programs.
  • have practical experience in different field methods, mainly such applied in terrestrial environments.
  • independently evaluate, compile and evaluate the results of ecological inventories and mappings.
  • work with basic applications of GIS (geographic information system).
  • have a basic understanding of the statistical methods/models that are used for ecological observatory data and be able to apply and critically evaluate these methods.
  • to produce and discuss inventory and mapping results orally and in writing.


The teaching is given as lectures, seminars and group assignments. Practical parts are concentrated to one week of field work.

Lectures and seminars during the first half of the course give a thorough orientation in common inventory and mapping methods and an overview of the statistical methods that are used for this type of studies. The emphasis lies here on terrestrial environments and biotic parameters, but examples from many different organism groups and habitats are included. Lectures also include GIS as well as programs for environmental monitoring (e g Natura 2000 and NILS, National Inventory of the Landscape in Sweden) which is important instruments in the work for sustainable development. Applied elements occurs in this part of the course in the form of field trips and problem-oriented group assignments, intended to give practical experience in the methods that the course covers. The importance of inventories and mappings within applied nature conservation (for example before creation of nature reserves and environmental monitoring) is described and be discussed.

The second half of the course is dominated of practical elements. During one of the final weeks the students carry out a number of inventories and mappings in groups. These will include e g vascular plants, invertebrates and birds. These activities are planned in detail before the field week, and is compiled, evaluated and presented after the field week.

The progression and useful competences for future jobs are provided by exercises, where the students may apply their knowledge in ecology from earlier courses and use them in practical nature conservation.


Lectures, seminars and group exercises.


Modules: Theory 7.5 credits; Exercises 7.5 credits.

The theory part is examined in a written examination equivalent to 7.5 credits. Participation in the parts of the field project is compulsory, which also applies participation in seminars and group assignments. The exercises equivalent to 7.5 credits are assessed during the course.

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: Autumn 2011

Some titles may be available electronically through the University library.

  • Henderson, Peter A. Practical methods in ecology

    Malden, MA: Blackwell Science, 2003

    Find in the library

Last modified: 2022-04-26