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Orientation on Biodiversity


Admission requirements

This course is open for all students that are enrolled in the Minor Biodiversity.


This six weeks course will consist of a mixture of fieldwork (gathering data), lectures, assignments and excursions. In general this course will focus on how to collect, store, process and translate biodiversity data into usable results (i.e. using R and Microsoft Access) to answer biodiversity related questions. The first weeks of this course will be spend deepening biodiversity theory through lectures and discussion sessions. Additionally, biodiversity related research skills will be honed during 2 fieldwork weeks (to Schiermonnikoog and an agricultural area close to Leiden). The course includes an assignment in which students will setup a study, collect data in the field, analyze it and write a scientific report about their scientific study in small groups. The rest of the course will be filled with learning about the importance of biodiversity in the field through excursions and lectures on the different Dutch landscapes. These will revolve around questions such as: how were these landscapes created? What was the role of biodiversity in creating them? The end of the course will be mostly dedicated to prepare for a final exam.
Note that this course includes full day excursions, some of which inevitably start early because of the distance to the destination.

Course Objectives

At the end of the course students:
1. Explain the biodiversity related theory that is discussed in the lectures;  
2. Illustrate how humans and biodiversity have formed and are still a part of the Dutch landscapes;  
3. Explain the societal issues that are connected to the Dutch landscapes as discussed in the course; 
4. Collect biodiversity data in various ways (plants, insects, aquatic invertebrates, soil invertebrates); 
5. Use 1, 2, 3 and 4 to design experimental and observational studies that can answer pressing biodiversity questions within an ecological and/or a management/policy context; 
6. Interpret, and report professionally on, the gathered biodiversity data from a scientific point of view. 


4 September 2023 - 13 October 2023. A detailed schedule will be provided on Brightspace before the start of the course.

You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimeTable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Please note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, self-study, practicals, excursions
For some of the excursions in module 1, a bicycle is needed; other will make use of public transportation.

Assessment method

Exam, assignment

The assignment will account for 30% of the final mark and should be finished with at least a 6.0. The exam grade will make up 70% of the final mark and should be finished with at least a 5.6.


From the academic year 2022-2023 on every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudyMap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information. Exemptions are minor students and fall semester for 1st year bachelor students: the student administration will enroll these groups for courses.

Please note that it is compulsory to both preregister and confirm your participation for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course. Confirming your exam participation is possible until ten days before the exam.

Extensive FAQ's on MyStudymap can be found here.

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for information on how to apply.

Contact information

Coordinator: Dhr. Dr. K.B. Trimbos


Brightspace will be used for communication and exchange of documents.