AEW-32306 Marine Systems

Code last year: (AEW-22806)


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Field practical12
Group work4
Course coordinator(s)dr. IA van de Leemput
Lecturer(s)dr. HM Toonen
dr. R Osinga
dr. IA van de Leemput
dr. MJA Christianen
dr. MJ Baptist
Examiner(s)dr. IA van de Leemput

Language of instruction:


Mandatory knowledge:

ZSS06200 Fieldwork Safety

Assumed knowledge on:

ENP-52806 Ocean and Coastal Governance; AFI-20306 Aquaculture and Fisheries; AEW-51806 Introduction Marine and Estuarine Ecology.

Continuation courses:

AFI-32806 Marine Resources Management, ENP-35806 Marine Environmental Quality and Governance, AEW-30306 Complexity in Ecological Systems


This course focuses on unraveling the key mechanisms that determine sustainability of the human use of marine ecosystems. Traditionally natural sciences have seen humans as an external driver of nature, whereas social sciences have considered nature as a resource for humans. However, such separate views are no longer sufficient if we want to understand what drives the complex interplay of humans and their environment. There are no natural systems without people, nor social systems without nature. Social and ecological systems are truly interdependent and constantly co-evolving, and dynamics are often complex.
In this course we analyse both the ecological and the social complexity of marine systems, addressing questions such as: what are the key factors challenging resilience of the marine social-ecological system, how is the system governed, and what would be needed to ensure its sustainability? 
During the course, students will collectively investigate various marine cases dealing with prominent issues in the management of the social-ecological system. Students will play an active role in this course. Activities include lectures, tutorials, excursion including fieldwork, role-playing games, and carousel teaching.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- explain the key concepts related to marine ecology, governance, using exemplary marine ecosystems;
- apply and interpret key tools: map a social-ecological system (SES), perform a resilience assessment, perform a stakeholder analysis, and make a policy arrangement approach;
- discuss effects of environmental and social changes on SES dynamics and governance;
- assess how a particular social-ecological marine system could potentially be steered into a desired direction;
- present and report in-depth analysis of a particular social-ecological marine system;
- apply sampling techniques commonly used in sea research;
- analyse and discuss field data.


- attending lectures;
- reading and studying background material;
- attending tutorials;
- active participation in group assignments and field work;
- report and present.


- group work (25%);
- written examination (closed book) (75%);
Results of partial interim examinations (deelcijfers) are valid for three years.


Course guide and scientific articles.

Compulsory for: MAMAquaculture and Marine Resource ManagementMSc1AF
Restricted Optional for: MBIBiologyMScD: Spec. D - Ecology1AF
Compulsory for: WUSEABSc Minor Seagriculture1AF