This course gives students an overview of marine ecosystems from the intertidal zone to the deep sea (open ocean, deep sea, coral reefs, mangroves, hydrothermal vents,…). The course provides insight into how these ecosystems operate, focusing on the biogeochemical cycling, and the ecological interactions. Students will also acquire an understanding of the opportunities, challenges and risks of exploiting marine ecosystems, and how various aspects of global change (ocean acidification, oxygen depletion, eutrophication) impact the functioning of marine ecosystems.
The theoretical content of the course includes an introduction to marine biogeochemical cycling and functioning of marine ecosystems. In addition, the students will be introduced to drivers of global change in marine ecosystems (both natural and anthropogenic) and current knowledge of their impacts. Finally, the students will get hands-on experience with planning and conducting experiments and field studies in marine ecosystems. This includes a field research cruise to the North Sea on research Vessel Simon Stevin.