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Environmental Processes


Admission requirements

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


The course Environmental Processes has the following content:
This four-week module has a very strong theoretical and a smaller practical part. The theoretical part focuses on chains of cause and effect in a (semi) natural environment. The course is structured around three key environmental realms (i) the abiotic environment, (ii) the biotic environment (iii) and human impacts on the biotic and abiotic environment. Within these themes the focus will be on the interacting ecological and anthropological processes and mechanisms underlying the core functions of these ecosystems, and how human interactions with these processes result in an collection of environmental problems. The course discusses a relative broad spectrum of environmental processes including climate change, eutrophication, pollution and ecotoxicology, exotic species, disturbance and fragmentation and their respective impacts on biodiversity. The practical part consists of a GIS- assignment, which will be carried out in small groups and is integrated with the data collection during the field weeks in the first module of the Minor.

Course Objectives

After completion of the course, students are able to:
1. Explain the biodiversity theory, evolution, environmental patterns, scales in biodiversity and human/biodiversity relationships as discussed in the course;
2. Discuss and illustrate how evolutionary and environmental processes determine biodiversity both on a short (decades) and long term (millions of years) time frame and on local to global spatial scales;
3. Apply the biodiversity concepts and tools from 1 and 2 to solve a wide range of scientific and societal problems;
4. Write a problem-oriented report in which different scenarios and actions are discussed and evaluated to solve a pressing biodiversity issue.


From 16 October 2023 – 10 November 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, practicals, (GIS) and discussions

Assessment method

The assignment will account for 40% of the final mark and should be finished with at least a 5.6. The exam grade will make up 60% of the final mark and should be finished with at least a 6.0.

Reading list

  • For each part of the we’ve developed a syllabus.

  • For some topics extra reading material will be provided (scientific articles, newspaper articles etc).


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: Dhr. Dr. Maarten Schrama Email:


Brightspace will be used for communication and exchange of documents