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Environmental Science: Ecosystems and Biodiversity




Admissions requirements



This is an introduction to the field of Environmental Science, which builds on the course GC Sustainability or GC Environmental Change. The course focusses on Ecosystems and Biodiversity. Important concepts in environmental science are discussed, as well as key methods in which environmental impacts are assessed (e.g. field, modelling and lab studies), and the advantages and disadvantages of these assessment methods in relationship with their uncertainties.

Students will conduct a group research project, in which the design and collection of data on a local environmental topic. Students will conduct some basic data analyses and interpretation of the results. This way students receive both theory in the classroom, and apply this knowledge during a research project.

Course objectives

The goal of this course is to introduce students to the field of environmental sciences, and to develop important academic skills. More specifically, at the end of the course students are able to:

  • Define and discuss important concepts in the field of environmental sciences;

  • Describe major environmental processes related to ecosystems and biodiversity, and discuss how these processes can be affected by human activity;

  • Critically evaluate scientific publications in the field of environmental science, and defend whether they agree or not with the conclusions made within the publication;

  • Describe and discuss strength and weaknesses of different methods used in environmental science to determine impacts;

  • Conduct an experiment and give a presentation and the outcomes of the experiment, thereby gaining experience in important scientific skills.


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

The main mode of instruction will center around lectures and discussions on current topics on environmental sciences In addition, students are required to complete individual and group assignments. To facilitate completion of these assignments, there will be some time set aside during lectures to discuss and work on assignments (the remainder of the work is conducted outside class hours). Attendance is compulsory for students.


Assessment will occur through two exams, one individual assignment (lab report), and a group assignment (review on a topic). In addition, participation in class will determine part of the final grade.

  • Modelling Assignment: 25%

  • Group Assignment: 25%

  • Course Participation: 10%

  • Final Exam: 40%

Exam: The exam will consist of a combination of multiple choice, short-answer and essay questions.
Model assignments: You will hand in a short individual assignment to study selected topics in more detail.

Group report and presentation: This group project consists of a field component in which data is collected, a data-analysis, and a group presentation/discussion in class.

Course participation: You will be assessed throughout the block on your class participation.


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list



This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Curriculum Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Dr. Thijs Bosker,
Dr. Martina Vijver,