Coastal and Marine Ecology

CMM31 Core course 6 ECTS
Period W39 - W41 21.09.15 - 09.10.15
Instructor Michael Honeth


This is an introductory course in marine ecology and the coastal environment. While emphasizing ecosystem patterns and processes, this course introduces ecological principles of both population and community ecology and strives to relate ecological knowledge to the broader context of the many global environmental challenges we face today.


i) Basic concepts: Diversity of life, distribution and dispersal, principles of population growth and species interactions. Primary production, decomposition and nutrient cycling in marine ecosystems, their trophic dynamics and food webs. Relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem stability and ecosystem functioning, disturbance and succession of communities.

ii) Human induced impacts on coastal and marine ecosystems, including fisheries, aquaculture and climate change as well as introduction to ecosystem conservation.

Discussion sessions and writing assignments serve to deepen the understanding of selected theoretical and practical concepts, approaches or applications as well as to train students in reading and writing scientific papers.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

  • The student understands the role of ecology in environment and natural resources studies and management and its importance for decision-making.
  • The student understands the basic ecological principles of population, community and ecosystem ecology as well as the main patterns and processes of the marine ecosystems.
  • The student knows and understands the consequences of the major human induced impacts on marine ecosystems.

Practical ability and skills

  • The student will gain practice in reading and writing sections of scientific papers.
  • The student will be able to link human impacts on marine ecosystems to potential management actions.
  • The student can read most scientific papers in ecology and critically review and discuss basic ecological subjects in an oral and a written form.



Michael Honeth works as a consultant on coastal and marine environment issues. He most recently worked in Belize on coral reef health studies with Blue Ventures, WWF and the Department of Fisheries, but has also worked as Coastal Adviser in the Marshall Islands, and on environmental issues amongst the aboriginal population in Canada. Michael holds a Masters degree in Marine Management from Dalhousie University, Canada.

Guest lecturer

Further reading