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Orientation on Biodiversity


Admission requirements

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

Contact information

Coordinator: Dhr. Dr. K.B. Trimbos
Email: trimbos@cml.leidenuniv.nll


This six weeks course starts with a field week on Schiermonnikoog, one of the Dutch Wadden Islands. There the students will get acquainted with Biodiversity both in theory and in practice. The essential parts of this field week are to get a general understanding of what Biodiversity is, why it is important, biodiversity management and what it entails to set up and conduct a biodiversity survey (biomonitoring) project. As a follow up on the field week we will introduce an assessment, where students will have to answer biodiversity related questions and write up a small research report based on their findings using the data collected. Some data analysis will be involved here. The other courses within the minor will use the field week data in other assignments as well. The next week will focus on how to store, process and translate biodiversity data into usable results (i.e. using the Geographical Information System (GIS)) to answer biodiversity related questions. The following weeks will be filled with learning about the importance of biodiversity in the field through 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 course will consist of a mixture of lectures, practicals and excursions. The last weeks of this course will be spend deepening biodiversity theory and skills, battle out your views on biodiversity in a debate, finalizing the assignment and preparations for a final exam.
Note that this module includes full day excursions, some of which inevitably start early because of the distance to the destination.

Learning goals

At the end of the course students:
1. Can collect biodiversity data in various ways and know how to use these both from an ecological perspective and a policy perspective;
2. Explain biodiversity theory, how biodiversity has formed Dutch landscapes and how biodiversity is thereby connected to societal issues;
3. Use 1 and 2 to design experimental and observational studies that can answer pressing biodiversity questions;
4. Can interpret the, and report professionally on, gathered biodiversity data from a scientific point of view.


31 August 2020 - 9 October 2020. A detailed schedule will be provided on Brightspace before the start of the course.

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

Inspection and feedback on the examination

Feedback on the exams and the answers will be given through a virtual Q and A session (Kaltura Life Room) which will be setup by the coordinator of the course ‘Orientation on Biodiversity’ and will take place, in concordance with the coordinator of the second course, during the running of the second course of the minor ‘Environmental Processes’.


Brightspace will be used for communication and exchange of documents


Via Usis

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