Marine Ecosystems

Course Description: 

The aim of this unit is to:

  1. Understand the importance of marine systems, their diverse structure and functions, and the complex links between land and the ocean. Acknowledge the major role the ocean plays in the proper functioning of the ecosphere as the life-support system and of the goods and services provided by the oceans, especially climate-regulation.
  2. Present the main threats affecting the oceans, the coastal areas and enclosed seas. The focus will be on the over-exploitation of fish stocks and the ecological effects and economic costs involved, and on the introduction of alien species.
  3. As study case analyze the uniqueness of the Black Sea and its links with the Danube River catchment. Understand how the river, delta and marine basin function as a single geosystem.
  4. Present the main conceptual developments in marine sciences, progresses in legislation and conservation, the current sustainable marine resources management practices, and the increasing importance of marine protected areas.
Learning Outcomes: 

Knowledge and understanding

Gain an understanding on the complexity of marine systems and of their importance. Become familiar with the main threats and environmental issues related to marine systems. Understand recent political approaches to the management of marine systems. Become aware of the specific problems and issues related to European enclosed seas.

Intellectual skills

Evaluate policy options available for addressing marine related issues.

Practical skills

Be able to evaluate the usefulness and quality of the present environmental solutions for marine systems. Understand the complex links between terrestrial and marine ecosystems and how human activities on land impact the marine environment.


Assessment of a written essay 100%