Academic year
2020/2021 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
PHD122 (AF:342055 AR:181959)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Corso di Dottorato (D.M.45)
Educational sector code
1st Semester
Course year
The course is divided in two parts.
• Part I will be devoted to Polar biology and cover the main aspects of life in extremely cold environments, adaptation to polar climate and limits of life.
This part of the course will provide an overview of:
- main characteristics of life in cold and arid habitats;
- adaptation of life to cold and dryness;
- limits of life in cold environments.
- polar environments as analogues for searching life beyond the Earth
• Part II will be devoted to Polar ecology and deal with ecological processes in high latitude environments, with particular emphasis to marine ecosystems.
This part of the course will provide an overview of:
- ecological processes in extreme environments, limits and opportunities;
- energy flows and ecosystem structure;
- emergent properties of ecosystems;
- impacts of climate changes on the ecosystem functioning
Knowledge about the structure and functioning of biologcal communities (both in terrestrail and marine environment) and main drivers affecting them.
Biological and Ecological foundations
Lesson plan

(Part I)
no. 1 An overview of polar habitats, Biogeography of Antarctica
no. 2 Adaptation of life to cold and dryness
no. 3 Limits of life and refuge habitats
no. 4 Endolithic life
no. 5 Polar habitats and microbial life as analogues for extra-terrestrial life
No. 6 .ppt presentations by students

(Part II)
no. 1 Ecological processes and ecosystem structure. An introduction
no. 2 The extreme conditions: limits for the ecological functioning
no. 3 The extreme conditions: opportunities for the ecological functioning
no. 4 Energy flows and community structure in polar habitats
no. 5 Emergent properties in ecosystems
no. 6 Expected impacts of climate change on the high latitude ecosystems
no. 7 .ppt presentations by students
Reading assignments will be given in class and include textbook chapters and scientific papers.
Grades will be assigned on oral examinations, and on the evaluation of a 15 min .ppt presentation, based on updated references, given by the students on one of the topic of the course.
The grade breakdown is approximately:
class participation 20%
oral examination 40%
.ppt presentation 40%
The course format will be a blend of lecturing, journal articles discussion, and student reports.

This subject deals with topics related to the macro-area "Natural capital and environmental quality" and contributes to the achievement of one or more goals of U. N. Agenda for Sustainable Development

Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 28/04/2020