BB528: Climate change biology

Study Board of Science

Teaching language: Danish or English depending on the teacher, but English if international students are enrolled
EKA: N100042112, N100042102
Assessment: Second examiner: Internal, Second examiner: External
Grading: 7-point grading scale
Offered in: Odense
Offered in: Spring
Level: Bachelor

STADS ID (UVA): N100042101
ECTS value: 5

Date of Approval: 31-10-2022

Duration: 1 semester

Version: Approved - active

Entry requirements


Academic preconditions

Students taking the course are expected to:
  • Have a basic knowledge of ecology and of ecological relationships.
  • To have knowledge of basic algebra.

Course introduction

This course is designed to introduce the students to current thinking on how climate change is influencing the biology of the planet. We will explore ecosystems ranging from the land to the sea. During the course, the students will be asked read and critically analyze current scientific literature on specific topics related to climate change biology. The students will be asked to present at least one topic to the class in a formal presentation and to lead a discussion stemming from the presented material. Through the course, the students will explore key issues related to the biology of climate change, and importantly, the students will learn to critically evaluate the scientific literature.

The course builds on the knowledge acquired in the courses BB531, BB510.

In relation to the competence profile of the degree it is the explicit focus of the course to:
  • Enable to students to participate in scientific cooperation and structure their own learning. 
  • Enable to students to relate critically to biological theories and state, evaluate and solve biological issues.
  • Give knowledge and reflexive understanding of biological scientific theories, current research subjects and the use of these subjects in discussions about biological issues.
From a practical standpoint, the students will learn the science behind climate and climate change. They will be able to critically evaluate the scientific evidence of climate change and develop scientifically informed conclusions based on this evidence. The students will also gain practical skills in organizing and delivering a class lecture. This will give them the chance to critically structure a scientific talk and to evaluate the appropriate level required to communicate scientific information in a classroom setting. The students will also gain experience in organizing a class discussion around the topic of their lecture. These skills will be of broad use for the students in communicating information, be it scientific or otherwise, and all sorts of work or educational settings.

Expected learning outcome

The learning objective of the course is that the student demonstrates the ability to:
  • critically think on the subject of climate change including evidence for and against.
  • explain the physics behind the regulation Earth’s climate.
  • Provide an overview of the biological consequences of climate change both on land and in the oceans.
  • explain past climate change and how it is evaluated.
  • explain the basics of climate models, how they work, and what they can be used for.
  • Work in teams and organize and deliver a course lecture.


The following main topics are contained in the course:
  • Radiation balance and greenhouse gases
  • Controls on climate
  • Climate models
  • Paleoclimate
  • Climate change and terrestrial ecosystems
  • Climate change and biogeography
  • Ocean acidification
  • Climate change and marine ecosystems
  • Climate change in the Arctic
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Climate change and sea level rise


See itslearning for syllabus lists and additional literature references.

Examination regulations

Exam element a)




Student presentation




Second examiner: Internal


7-point grading scale


Full name and SDU username


Normally, the same as teaching language

Examination aids

To be announced during the course.

ECTS value


Exam element b)




Written Exam




Second examiner: External


7-point grading scale


Student Identification Card - Exam number


Normally, the same as teaching language


4 hours

Examination aids

All common aids are allowed e.g. books, notes and computer programmes which do not use internet etc. 

Internet is not allowed during the exam. However, you may visit the course site in itslearning to open system "DE-Digital Exam". If you wish to use course materials from itslearning, you must download the materials to your computer no later than the day before the exam. 

ECTS value


Indicative number of lessons

16 hours per semester

Teaching Method

At the faculty of science, teaching is organized after the three-phase model ie. intro, training and study phase.

  • Intro phase (lectures) - 16 hours
  • Training phase: 32 hours tutorials 

The lecturers on the course provide a number of introductory lessons on the main topics of the course. These lessons will typically last the first of a two-hour period, after which the second hour is spent on activities and discussions among the students in order to strengthen the learning of what the students learned during the first hour. The students will receive different take-home assignments, first and foremost to develop quantitative skills in understanding the Earth's climate regulations. All students are expected to be well prepared for each lesson as the teaching requires active participation by the students. In small classes, the students will then prepare and give a lecture of one hour's duration over one of the topics within the course curriculum. The preparation of this topic is discussed in detail with the course teachers, and in connection with the lecture, each team is expected to prepare an hour's discussion.

Activities during the studyphase:

  • Students will solve homework problems.
  • Students will prepare for active participation in lectures..
  • Students will prepare to give a course lecture.

Teacher responsible

Name E-mail Department
Donald E. Canfield Nordcee

Additional teachers

Name E-mail Department City
Ronnie N. Glud Nordcee


Administrative Unit

Biologisk Institut

Team at Educational Law & Registration


Offered in


Recommended course of study

Profile Education Semester Offer period

Transition rules

Transitional arrangements describe how a course replaces another course when changes are made to the course of study. 
If a transitional arrangement has been made for a course, it will be stated in the list. 
See transitional arrangements for all courses at the Faculty of Science.