BIO9381 – Harmful Algae and Algal Culturing

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

The course gives an introduction to the significance of harmful algal blooms, and the ecology, taxonomy, toxicity, toxins and monitoring of harmful algae in marine and limnic waters. It also includes training and demonstrations in laboratory methods used in harmful algal research such as light microscopy, cell isolation and quantification, algal culturing, growth experiments, toxicity assays, toxin analysis and molecular biological detection assays.

Learning outcome

After following the course you should:

  • Have solid knowledge on the significance of harmful algal blooms in marine and freshwater environments
  • Know the major harmful algal species causing problems in Europe, their ecology, toxins and effects
  • Be able to identify these algal species under the light or electron microscope
  • Have experience with isolation of microalgae from natural water samples, algal culturing, and determine growth rate in cultures
  • Have knowledge on methods for identification, detection and quantification of harmful algae using molecular biological methods and microscopy
  • Be able to perform simple toxicity assays and toxin analyses
  • Have experience assessing and providing feedback on the research work of others


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 BIO4381 and BIO9381 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


Formal prerequisite knowledge

No prerequisites

Recommended previous knowledge

BIO1000 – Elementary Biology (discontinued), BIO1200 – Biodiversity (discontinued), BIO4400 – Pelagic Ecology

Overlapping courses


The course consists of lectures, laboratory work, computing exercise and colloquia. Active participation in the teaching and approved reports from the laboratory exercises is necessary in order for the students to be eligible for the final exam.

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

As the teaching involves laboratory and/or field work, you should consider taking out a separate travel and personal risk insurance. Read about your insurance cover as a student.


Oral presentation on a given topic. Approved laboratory reports. Final written exam (3 hours)(100%).

Grading scale

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

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

This course offers both postponed and resit of examination. Read more:

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.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


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


The title of the course is changed autumn 2015 from "harmful algae" to "harmful algae and algal culturing". The content of the course is the same.

Facts about this course






Every other Autumn semester. Next time Autumn 2019.


Every other Autumn semester. Next time Autumn 2019.

Teaching language

Norwegian (English on request)