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Ecosysteem Ecologie


Admission requirements

Not applicable.


In this course students will learn to take a holistic approach in understanding of ecosystem functioning from a macroscopic and global perspective. The central idea of systems ecology approach that an ecosystem is a complex system exhibiting emerging properties due to interaction of living and non-living components within the environment, and due to impacts of natural and human-induced changes of the environment. Students will learn about global patterns of Earth energy flow, carbon and nutrient cycles, relationships of those to climate, trophic interactions and biodiversity.

Course Objectives

After completion of the course, students are able to:  

1 Explain the driving factors of energy, carbon, and nutrient flow in different ecosystems.
2 Compare energy, carbon, and nutrient flow across ecosystems.
3 Explain driving factors underlying global patterns of terrestrial and marine biogeography.
4 Explain ecosystem functioning of marine, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystems, including soils.
5 Present the understanding of ecosystem functioning to the general audience.
6 Apply the knowledge of ecosystem ecology to different ecosystems.
7 Explain the driving factors of landscape patterns and processes
8 Explain human-induced effects on ecosystems.


You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudymap will automatically be displayed in MyTimetable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Pleas note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

Mode of Instruction

The main mode of instruction will centre around seminar-style/dynamic lectures and include short practical assignments to be completed in the group, aiming at a full engagement of all students, under a supervision of a lecturer. In addition, students are required to complete a practical and a group assignment. To facilitate completion of those assignments, there will be some time set aside before or after the lectures to discuss progress. Attendance is compulsory for students.

Assessment method

The final grade consists of the following partical grades:

  • Exam 75% (minimum grade 5,6)

  • Assignment and presentation 25% (minimum grade 6,0).

Reading list

  • Verplicht boek: Smith TM Elements of Ecology, Global Edition with Mastering Biology. We gebruiken de nieuwste (negende) editie die uitkwam in mei 2015 (met een giraf op de voorkant!).


From the academic year 2022-2023 on every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudymap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information.

Please note that it is compulsory to both preregister and confirm your participation for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course. Confirming your exam participation is possible until ten days before the exam.
Extensive FAQ on MyStudymap can be found here.


Coordinator: Dr. S.E. Hannula and Dr. Y. Si


Inspection and feedback on the examination: to be announced.
Detailed course information will be provided via Brightspace.
Maximum number of participants: 85