The course aims to provide an introduction to the structure and functioning of fresh and marine aquatic ecosystems, in such a way that the information can be usefully applied in water quality assessment, water quality management and rehabilitation of natural aquatic environments. It is aimed to provide the student with a background in ecology in general and fresh water ecology in particular, so as to guide him/her in judging on the impact of certain measures or disturbances on aquatic ecosystems, in developing and evaluating restoration measures, interpreting reports on environmental degradation, etc. Through the assignment, the course aims to increase the capacity of the students to engage in scientific discussions and report on topics related to the sustainability of aquatic habitats in relation to human impact.
Students are supposed to have basic knowledge of biology.
Beginning conditions: Basic biology or basic ecology course
Examples and samples
Toledo / e-platform
Order of Enrolment
This course unit is a prerequisite for taking the following course units:
I0S76A : Thesis Research Project Water Resources Engineering
I0S77A : Setting Up Research Project
I0S78A : Research Methods for Data Collection and Processing
Is also included in other courses
- Predoctoral exam
- Master in de bio-ingenieurswetenschappen: land- en bosbeheer (Major: Soil and Water) 120 ects.
- Master of Water Resources Engineering 120 ects.
- Master of Water Resources Engineering (abridged programme 60 ECTS) 60 ects.
Emphasis is on the structure and functioning of freshwater systems, but comparative information on marine systems is provided. Wherever possible, the concepts and ideas developed in the course are also illustrated using examples from and studies carried out in the tropics.
Characteristics of water
Lentic habitats (lakes, ponds,...):
· Distribution, genesis, typology and morphology of inland waters;
· Physico chemical characteristics of lakes and ponds: light, thermal stratification, oxygen, salinity, inorganic carbon, nitrogen cycle, phosphorus cycle, micronutrients;
· Productivity and structure of aquatic ecosystems;
· Living biota: phytoplankton community, zooplankton community, fish and the trophic cascade; and
· Human impact, threats and restoration: eutrophication, acidification, fisheries, biomanipulation.
Lotic habitats (streams and rivers): typology, community structure, floodplains;
· Estuaries; and
· Notes on tropical limnology.
· Excursion: introduction to sampling equipment for the determination of the physico-chemical characteristics of water, the sampling of phyto and zooplankton, periphyton and benthos, introduction to shallow lake ecology and restoration of shallow lakes;
· Practical exercises: survey of freshwater communities (phytoplankton, zooplankton, benthos, fishes): diversity, counting methods, illustration of ecological concepts and experiments, introduction to indicators of biological water quality; andAssignment: students will be engaged in a literature review on themes either related to tropical wetland ecology, to the impact of man on aquatic habitats (threats and restoration measures), or to the monitoring of diversity and ecosystem structure in relation to human impact. Discussions will be organized on these themes, and the students will write a report on a theme of their choice, elaborating on an issue that attracted their attention during the discussions, based on a literature survey introduction to marine communities.
Description of learning activities
26 hrs/2 credits theory; 26 hrs/2 credits of practical work; 26 hrs/2 credits of assignment/guided self-study