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Evolutionary Developments and Environmental Processes


Admission requirements

The course is open for all students that are enrolled in the Minor Biodiversity and natural Environment and have followed the previous course Patterns in Biodiversity.


The course Evolutionary Developments and Environmental Processes consists of three modules

1. Evolutionary Developments
This two-week module builds on the module large-scale patterns of biodiversity with emphasis on the development of biodiversity in the course of evolution. Particularly geographical, geological and evolutionary aspects are discussed.

2. Environmental processes
The focus in this four-week module is on chains of cause and effects in a (semi) natural environment. The course is structured around the four key environmental issues: (i) climate change, (ii) soil processes (iii) water processes and (iv) biotic processes. Within these themes the focus will be on the interacting processes and mechanisms behind environmental problems such as acidification, over-fertilization, desiccation, pollution and ecotoxicology, exotic species, disturbance and fragmentation and their impact on biodiversity.

3. Literature Review
Biodiversity, it’s origin, importance, threats and what we can do about them. In a period of four weeks students will study literature and take interviews to prepare a written report on a chosen biodiversity issue. Students can work alone or in small teams. The minor will be concluded with a symposium.

Course objectives

At the end of the course students:

  • Understand and know how the concepts of time, phylogeny and evolution can be used in relation to the concept of biodiversity

  • Have learned about the physical, chemical and ecological processes that determine biodiversity in ecosystems

  • Have learned about the role of human activities, such as interventions and emissions, that negatively affect biodiversity

  • Can analyze and describe in a scientific report the importance of a Dutch biodiversity issue and the conservation actions needed


From Monday November 10 2014 till Friday January 30 2014. A detailed schedule will be provided on Blackboard before the start of the course.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, practicals and discussions

Assessment method

Exam, assignments, reports


Blackboard will be used for communication and exchange of documents

Reading list

To be decided. Check Blackboard in August 2014.

Registration: via USiS and via Blackboard.

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

Contact information

Course coordinator: K.Trimbos
Course coordinator: Dr. W.L.M. Tamis