Ecosystems in the Anthropocene

15 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 1BG513

Education cycle
Second cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Biology A1N, Earth Science A1N
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
Finalised by
The Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 17 October 2022
Responsible department
Biology Education Centre

Entry requirements

Completed courses of 120 credits including (1) 60 credits in biology and 30 credits in chemistry or 30 credits in earth sciences, or (2) 90 credits in biology, in both cases including either of the advanced courses Ecology 15 credits or Limnology 15 credits, or (3) 90 credits in earth science including Dynamics of Earth Systems - Global Change 10 credits.Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6.

Learning outcomes

The aim for this course is that students acquire in-depth knowledge on how ecosystems change due to human impact, and reach an understanding on the interaction between global environmental change and ecosystem processes. Anthropocene is the era of humans, because humans have a global, fundamental and multifaceted effect on Earth's ecosystems and climate. Illuminating the interactions as well as dependencies between humans and ecosystems, this course aims at equipping students with essential knowledge needed for environment-related jobs in all sectors.

On completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  • relate to the term Anthropocene and take a stand on its various interpretations
  • describe large-scale effects of anthropogenic perturbations on various ecosystems on land and in water
  • explain interactions between human impact, ecosystem processes and ecosystem services
  • analyse and evaluate effects of human impact on selected ecosystem processes using quantitative models
  • suggest measures for management of local ecosystems that are subject to global environmental change
  • critically discuss strategies for sustainable development of social-ecological systems.


  • Interactions between global environmental change and different ecosystems
  • Human impact on biogeochemical cycles and its effects on ecosystem services
  • Ecosystem stability and resilience
  • Planetary boundaries and social-ecological resilience and sustainability
  • Quantification and simulation of environmental change effects on ecosystems through measurement and modelling.


Teaching comprises lectures, seminars, an individual literature essay, role plays, computer exercises, and a field course.


Modules: Theory 7.5 hp; literature essay 2.5 hp; computer exercises and field course 5 hp. The theory module is examined through participation in presentations, discussion seminars, and written assignments. The module literature essay is examined through an individually written assignment and feedback to the essays of other students. The module computer exercises and field course is examined through active participation as well as written and oral presentations.

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University's disability coordinator.