Universität Wien

300197 VO Ecology of Marine Polar Systems (2017W)

3.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 30 - Biologie


Language: English

Examination dates



First meeting October 6, 9-09:30 in HS 4, UZA II; location and time of the upcoming lectures will be discussed.


Aims, contents and method of the course

This lecture provides an introduction to the ecosystems of the Arctic and Antarctic Ocean. In the first part, the students will be introduced to the common definitions of polar and sub-polar regions and get an insight into the climate history of polar regions and the history of polar exploration and research. The second part will focus on the physical processes shaping coastal and open ocean polar environments and on the role the Arctic and Antarctic play in the world’s marine and climate system. The third and main part of this lecture will deal with the communities and key species of selected ecosystems in the Arctic and Antarctic – coastal, ice-shelves and sea ice, the open water body and the benthic ecosystems from the shelves down to the deep-sea. Adaptations and strategies of plants and animals to cope with the challenges of the different environments will be presented. The last part will focus on the impact of climate change and touch upon questions of stewardship, exploitation and conservation of the polar regions. Every section will be accompanied by examples and novel findings from recent literature.

Assessment and permitted materials

Written examination

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Successful students will be competent to characterize the structure, dynamics and environmental drivers of Arctic and Antarctic ecosystems and be able to describe key species and special adaptations. Based on the earned expertise, the students will be able to understand and to exemplify the consequences of climate change in polar regions.

Examination topics

Subject matter covered during the lecture

Reading list

The Biology of Polar Regions, by Tony Fogg, David Thomas, and colleagues, second edition from 2008. Available free at the University library as eBook.
More literature will be introduced during the lectures.

Association in the course directory


Last modified: Mo 07.09.2020 15:43