BIOL-F4005 / VUB 4018749FNR
Prof. Dr. Farid Dahdouh-Guebas & Prof. Dr. Em. Jean-Louis Deneubourg
in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Jean Hugé
The course comprises 30 hrs theory, 6 hrs practicals and 12 hrs excursions (1 d). The course targets Master students from the disciplines of Biology, Bio-Engineering, Geography and Environmental Management.
1. To provide an overview of the constituents and theory (conceptual, analytical) underlying large-scale social-ecological systems (SES);
2. To understand diversity, redundance, stability, hysteresis and resilience in a functional ecological context and in a sustainability context;
3. To understand the ecological and social-ecological functioning of selected SES;
4. To zoom in on the mangrove forest as a SES and:
4A. To understand the ecological and social-ecological relationships within mangroves and between mangroves and adjacent ecosystems;
4B. To understand the consequences of anthropogenic threats to this SES;
4C. To understand the scientific approaches and tools to monitor, manage and
restore this SES.
Upon completion of the course a
student must be able to understand the constituents of a SES and to track down
the ecological consequences on different sublevels (environment, fauna and
flora) of anthropogenically induced changes on tropical coastal biodiversity and
ecosystems, and must be able to situate the environmental problems in a holistic
context (relationship with socio-economical factors).
Upon completion of the course a student must be able to understand the constituents of a SES and to track down the ecological consequences on different sublevels (environment, fauna and flora) of anthropogenically induced changes on tropical coastal biodiversity and ecosystems, and must be able to situate the environmental problems in a holistic context (relationship with socio-economical factors).
advised pre-knowledge :
A Bachelor training in sciences is required. A course on 'general ecology' may be helpful.
Consider taking the
following course in parallel
Scientific Presentation Skills and Career Planning
Scientific Presentation Skills and Career Planning (BING-F-537).
The course structure follows a zoom from theoretical introduction (concepts, analytical tools) towards a global overview of SES and finally towards the mangrove forest as a model SES.
Understanding change and ecosystem management:
definitions linked to SES, systems ecology and adaptive cycles;
ecosystem services. Social-ecological change, governance and stewardship:
Ecological resilience and social-ecological resilience;
Social-ecological governance and transformations in ecosystem stewardship;
Ecological and socio-ecological individual-based models
Complexity at several levels in biology and ecology:
Feedbacks and feedback networks from cells to ecology
Dynamics and stationarity
Hysteresis and multistationarity
Mathematical basis for understanding complexity and change:
Complexity and resilience in social insects
Complexity and social-ecological resilience in forest systems
Complexity and social-ecological resilience in dryland systems
Complexity and social-ecological resilience in freshwater systems
Complexity and social-ecological resilience in oceans and estuarine systems
The mangrove forest as a SES, describing constituents and relationships), the links with man and integrated research.
Part I Mangrove forests and their biocomplexity
Distribution of mangrove forests;
Faunal and floral biodiversity, incl. morphological, physiological and ethological adaptations to tropical environments and to intertidal and marine life;
Ecological mutual benefits between between mangrove forests, and their adjacent tropical rainforests, seagrass beds and coral reefs;
Food webs and trophic relationships;
Part II Ethnobiology and anthropogenical impacts on mangroves and adjacent ecosystems
Social, economical and cultural values and services of mangrove forests – mangroves as a model SES;
Anthropogenically induced threats on one or more ecosystems and the consequences for the other ecosystems;
Local vs. global patterns of change.
Part III Scientific research tools
Monitoring, modelling and experiments (incl. management, restoration and conservation);
The use of remote sensing and GIS;
Combinatory and multivariate analyses;
Essentials of tropical habitat management
Case-studies and management
guidelines with respect to mangroves as a SES.
study material :
material and information used during the course.
study material :
international research publications
The examination matter is the oral
and written matter covered during the lectures. Note that the course
material only provides the slides used during the lectures and all oral and
blackboard information !
Examples integrative questions :
- Explain the short and long-term effects of selective cutting in terrestrial or semi-terrestrial forests on the functioning of the coral reef.
- What would be the effect of inland groundwater pumping for the plants and people in the coastal zone ?
The following website has been developed :
Course + material : http://www.ulb.ac.be/sciences/biocomplexity/education/SES_BIOL_F4005/
Thesis topics : introductory lecture + firstname.lastname@example.org
There are ca. 10 lecture days of 3 h and each lecture is interrupted by a small break of about 20 minutes.
Please check on your institution's official course schedule for dates, times and venues:
or check both, because sometimes there may be incomplete data, errors or double bookings...
Details on research, thesis topics and assignments are given during the first lecture.
Students belonging to curricula who are following this course optionally (e.g. Human Ecology, Erasmus/Socrates students) or with special statutes (top sports, handicap,...) are requested to take contact with the lecturer for the planning of the examination.
All exams take place in room O.3.204 (Campus Plaine, ULB side, Etterbeek).
• Exam first session (January) : please sign up for the day of exam at your secretariat, or with the class responsible who will interact over this with the lecturer. Exams take place individually at 30'-intervals between students starting at 09h00.
• Exam second session (August/September) : please sign up for the day of exam at your secretariat, or with the class responsible who will interact over this with the lecturer. Exams take place individually at 30'-intervals between students.
All course material and instructions for the group assignment (Mangal Role-Play Simulation) should be downloaded through your e-learning platform :
Université Virtuelle (ULB) : http://uv.ulb.ac.be/
Canvas (VUB) : http://canvas.vub.be/
Annual excursion to VLIZ Marine Science Day, February/March, Brugge.
This page is maintained by Farid Dahdouh-Guebas, email@example.com