Dynamics of natural populations - from individuals to ecosystems

Bachelor’s level
15 credits (ECTS)
Study pace
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Full education cost: 31 000 SEK
First payment: 31 000 SEK

No fees are charged for EU and EEA citizens, Swedish residence permit holders and exchange students.

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This education has a focus on sustainability. The teacher has created the course or program to fit into at least one of our 10 sustainability criteria. For you as a student, the sustainability label means guidance, quality assurance, and a guarantee that courses or programs contain a pronounced perspective on sustainability.


What makes some species vulnerable to extinction while others rapidly invade new regions? How sensitive are different ecosystems to disturbance? In this course you will learn about processes acting at individual, population and ecosystem levels. You will learn to build simple computer models to assess the extinction risk of a species under different scenarios. Population genetics and other molecular methods are pivotal tools in modern ecology – in this class you will gain basic skills within these fields.


Initially, population ecology is treated with one or more species. We use models to describe population development, considering the environment, risk of extinction, and other factors. We also touch upon spatial structure and investigate how hunting and fishing affect a population.

During two weeks we study the function of two marine ecosystems, shallow eelgrass meadows and the pelagic ecosystem. We focus on processes and the importance of environmental factors, including human impact.

The theoretical part continues with population genetics, describing genetic variation, natural selection and gene flow, and the impact they have on populations. Conservation genetics is an important part and we provide information on molecular methods in ecology.

The course ends with a number of mini-projects where methods from the course are applied during a week's group work.

Prerequisites and selection


Admission to the course requires one of the following options: 1) Basic courses in biology encompassing 60 credits and including the areas cell biology, molecular genetics, evolution, botanical and zoological physiology, ecology, and biodiversity and systematics, or the equivalent. At least 45 credits must be passed. Furthermore, a basic course in evolution or ecology must be approved. 2) Approved courses within the first and second year of the bachelor program in marine sciences, or the equivalent. At least 90 of the 120 credits must be passed. 3) Approved courses within the first year of the bachelor program in environmental sciences and one additional 15 credits basic biology course, or the equivalent. At least 60 of the 75 credits must be passed.


Selection is based upon the number of credits from previous university studies, maximum 165 credits.


The teaching is mainly conducted at the Zoology house (Medicinaregatan 18 A) and for two weeks at Kristineberg Marine Research Station. Kristineberg is one of the two stations for marine research at the university ( It is a fantastic place to study the marine life in the Skagerrak, the most productive waters in Sweden. You will stay in 2-4 person rooms and enjoy the full board in the station restaurant for a very attractive price. Housing is paid by the university. You can stay at the station over the weekend between the two field weeks if you like.