NEM-21306 Ecophysiology


Studiepunten 6.00

Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)dr. MG Sterken
Lecturer(s)JAG Riksen
dr. MJM Lankheet
prof. dr. M Naguib
dr. MG Sterken
FC Ribeiro da Cunha
prof. dr. ir. JJA van Loon
Examiner(s)dr. MG Sterken

Language of instruction:

NL and/or EN

Mandatory knowledge:

ZSS06100 Laboratory Safety

Assumed knowledge on:

PEN-10503 Ecology I; PEN- 20503 Ecology II and CBI- 10306 Celbiology.


In their struggle for survival, organisms have to adapt continuously to changes in their abiotic and biotic environment. This course focuses on the molecular mechanisms and consequences of these adaptations for individual organisms and interactions among organisms. Attention will be paid to various (a)biotic factors including temperature, drought, feeding conditions, photoperiodicity, intraspecific competition, symbiosis and parasitism. Common mechanisms and key concepts across kingdoms underlying adaptation and plasticity will be analysed in depth. Examples will be shown how environmental conditions affect signal transduction pathways leading to adaptive changes in ecology, behaviour and phenology. Special topics will address coral bleaching, animal navigation, breeding cycles in birds, invasion of Northern Hemisphere by exotic species and co-evolution of plants and animals.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- understand adaptation mechanisms of organisms in response to biotic and abiotic stress factors, and how these affect their interactions;
- understand common patterns across kingdoms underlying adaptation and plasticity;
- translate the effects of changing environmental conditions into adaptations in behaviour, phenology and ecology;
- perform and analyze experiments in ecophysiology;
- interpret data and report through written presentations;
- write a comprehensive research proposal on an ecophysiological topic.


- attending lectures;
- reading and discussing scientific papers;
- participating in the practical course. During the practical course, experimental results are discussed;
- write a practical report according to a strict format.


The final grade is based on the practical report and a written exam

Criteria of exam assessment:
Written exam: the written exam consists of open questions. The lecturer will determine if the given answer is correct and, if relevant, if it demonstrates the level of insight and opinion-forming capacity, which is required of the student at the end of the course. In order to pass the course the minimum mark for the written exam is 5.5.

The report will be sufficient when it shows understanding of and insight in the topics that were covered in the practical and when all the practical assignments are made. No mark will be given, however, when the report is insufficient and the course cannot be completed.


Course guide. Scientific publications.

Verplicht voor: BBIBiologyBScB: Spec. B - Development and Adaptation1AF