PEN-22806 Habitat Analysis for Ecologists


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Field practical15
Excursion (one day)14
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. ir. L Mommer
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. JC van Dam
dr. ir. FJ Sterck
prof. dr. E Hoffland
prof. dr. ir. L Mommer
dr. J van Ruijven
IM Lubbers
dr. M de Jong
Examiner(s)prof. dr. ir. L Mommer

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

PEN-20503 Ecology II

Continuation courses:

PEN-30306 Plant, Vegetation and Systems Ecology; SLM-20806 Water Quantity and Quality.


Note: This course has a maximum number of participants. The deadline for registration is one week earlier than for courses with no maximum.
A practical course on environmental research methods for undergraduate ecology students. It introduces students to the terminology and techniques of parameters regarding nutrients and water that are relevant to ecological field studies. Students learn how to sample, measure, analyse and interpret data on abiotic site conditions. They also learn to collect and interpret data on vegetation composition and tree growth as bio-indicators for abiotic site conditions. The course prepares students for field work in continuation courses and thesis projects.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- use the terminology and units of ecologically relevant variables (soil nutrients, soil water, meteorology) when describing a habitat (vegetation);
- collect and process ecologically relevant data of a habitat, using a suite of field and laboratory methods;
- calculate relevant ecological variables from lab data and literature;
- interpret and present information on habitat conditions in terms that are relevant to forest management and nature conservation;
- integrate the relevant parameters of different disciplines (vegetation, soil nutrients, soil water) in order to answer ecological research questions regarding the habitat.


After a few introductory lectures and tutorials, students will visit several forest sites located around Wageningen. In these sites, small groups of students will sample vegetation and relevant abiotic parameters. Measurements and interpretation of these variables will be continued in the laboratory and PC rooms. Finally, a small project will be executed in order to practise the multidisciplinarity of the different environmental disciplines within this course.


The final mark is determined by the two midterm examinations (15%); the final written examination (50%; minimal score 5.5) ; the presentation of the research project of the student group (35%).


The work book will be available at the WUR-shop a week before the course.
PowerPoint presentations of lectures, and data collected during the course will be available on EDU-web.

Compulsory for: BBNForest and Nature ConservationBScB: Ecology and Conservation1AF
Compulsory for: WUEABBSc Minor Earth and Biosphere1AF
WUMTEBSc Minor Management of Terrestrial Ecosystems1AF