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Scales of Biodiversity


Admission requirements

The course is open for all (biology and non-biology) students that are enrolled in the Minor Biodiversity and have followed the first two courses. A minimum background on general concepts in biodiversity and overall evolutionary patterns are preferred.


This six-week course Scales in Biodiversity integrates the four dimensions of biodiversity in various scales of space and time. “How can biodiversity be mapped?” is a central question. Using examples from zoology, botany and palaeontology we follow the path from sample to pattern. The module provides the theoretical background on the processes behind these patterns, including environmental factors, sampling biases and taphonomical background, mostly based on Dutch examples, preparing participants in academic discussions on biodiversity issues. Subsequently, patterns of biodiversity will be placed in the context of the development of biodiversity in the course of evolution. Particularly geographical, geological and evolutionary aspects are discussed.

Course Objectives

After completion of the course students can:
1. Integrate taxonomic, morphological, spatial and temporal information to map and analyze biodiversity patterns in a particular habitat in space and time.
2. Describe the ecological and evolutionary developments of biodiversity at geological and historical scale.
3. Explain the ecological and evolutionary developments of biodiversity at geological and historical scale
4. Explain (the processes that underlie) the biodiversity patterns at various scales in space and time.


From 13 November 2023 – 22 December 2023. A detailed schedule will be provided on Blackboard 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, practicals, demonstrations, fieldwork

Assessment method

The overall assessment comprises the assessments (written assigment and exam) of the three subparts of the module: Angiosperms 40%, Bryology 30%, Paleobiology 30%. Each assignment should be finished with at least a 6.0.

Reading list



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.


Course coordinator: Dr. Lars van den Hoek-Ostende Email:


Brightspace will be used for communication and exchange of documents