BIO9140 - Life-history strategies and climate effects

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course deals with life history theory and how various life history traits might be affected by climate. The theory will be presented from general literature (text book), while scientific articles will be selected to provide empirical examples and to elucidate newer theoretical approaches. The course represents a combination of ecological and evolutionary thinking, and in addition will the understanding of various physiological processes be emphasized. The empirical examples will include both terrestrial and aquatic systems, and will deal with many different taxa.

Learning outcome

After comleting this course you have achieved:

  • In depth knowledge about basic theories on evolution of life history traits.
  • Understadning how climate parameters affect these traits.
  • Improved your understanding of the extent to which organisms may respond on altered environmental conditions and how this is performed.
  • Improved your ability to present and critically discuss advanced theoretical and empirical studies within this field.


PhD candidates from the University of Oslo should apply for classes and register for examinations through Studentweb.

If a course has limited intake capacity, priority will be given to PhD candidates who follow an individual education plan where this particular course is included. Some national researchers’ schools may have specific rules for ranking applicants for courses with limited intake capacity.

PhD candidates who have been admitted to another higher education institution must apply for a position as a visiting student within a given deadline.

The courses BIO4140 and BIO9140 have common admission. Applicants are ranked by the following criteria:
1. PhD students and master students at the MN faculty who have the course as part of the approved curriculum.
2. Other PhD students and visiting PhD students.
3. Students with admission to single courses on master’s level and exchange students
4. Applicants are ranked by credits in each group; all applicants within 1st rank before applicants in 2nd etc. If admission is limited to a fixed number of participants, admission will be decided by drawing lots for students who are ranked equally


Recommended previous knowledge

Bachelor degree in biology or similar. Good basic knowledge in ecology and evolution.


The course will be given during week 40-45 and include:

week 40 and 41: Presentation of general theory and exercises. The themes for the essay given.

week 42: Preparation for group presentation and some lectures

week 43. Group presentation and some lectures

week 44: Some summary lectures and submission of essay.

Week 45: Final written exam.

First lecture is mandatory.  If you can not attend the first lecture, please send a note to, before the first lecture.


The course will be based on the following elements:

Lectures presenting general life history theory and case studies.

Data labs - where students will work with selected practical problems.

Group presentations where selected topics are discussed in class.

Presentation of a lecture (30 min) on a prescribed topic.

All students must submit an essay on a given topic.

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


The student needs to have participated in the group work, given the prescribed lecture and submitted an essay (up to 6 pages) in addition to the final exam. Essay and final exam are graded (weight 30:70). Written exam 3 hours.

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

Teaching language

Norwegian (English on request)