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Freshwater Management, 15 Credits

Swedish name: Vattenvård

This syllabus is valid: 2017-09-04 valid to 2023-01-01 (newer version of the syllabus exists)

Course code: 5BI222

Credit points: 15

Education level: First cycle

Main Field of Study and progress level: Biology: First cycle, has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements

Grading scale: VG Pass with distinction, G Pass, U Fail

Responsible department: Department of Ecology and Environmental Science

Established by: Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 2017-10-13


This course will evaluate how diverse human activities influence the physical, chemical, and biological properties of freshwater ecosystems. Field and laboratory exercises will focus on learning the monitoring tools currently used to assess the quality of streams, rivers, and lakes. These tools will be further implemented in small, field-based group projects that will address different environmental pressures characteristic of northern Sweden and Umeå (e.g., forestry, agriculture, and urban development). Additional course lectures, discussions, and/or excursions will focus on a broader set of environmental issues that are of both regional and global significance, including stream and river restoration, hydroelectric development, organic pollutants, eutrophication, mining, and aquaculture. These themes will be discussed within the context of current environmental legislation, most notably the EU Water Framework Directive.

The course is divided into the following sections:

Section1, Biomonitoring of freshwater habitats , 5 credits
This section will give a practical summary of freshwater biomonitoring, including habitat assessment and fish and invertebrate collection from streams and rivers. In addition, this section will include an overview of benthic invertebrate taxonomy and life history, including the use of invertebrates to assess water quality.

Part 2, Human impacts on freshwater environments, 10 credits
This section will address how a wide range of human activities affect the chemical and biological properties of freshwater ecosystems. Examples of themes addressed in this section include nutrient loading and eutrophication, acidification, agricultural land use, mining and metals emissions, and the effects of forestry and hydroelectric development. This section will also cover issues related to the remediation of freshwater ecosystems, with an emphasis on local restoration efforts in boreal Sweden.
Finally, this section will address water-related environmental objectives, including the EU Water Framework Directive, and other the current environmental legislation.

Expected learning outcomes

After the completion of this course, for the grade Passed, the student should be able to:
1. Identify common benthic macroinvertebrate families and understand how to use these groups in the biomonitoring of aquatic ecosystems 
2. Analyze and compare the effects of different anthropogenic disturbances/stressors on freshwater ecosystems
3.  Explain the principles of aquatic ecosystem restoration and remediation and understand how to evaluate the success of different restoration/remediation efforts.
4. Explain key environmental legislation and management recommendations related to achieving and maintaining water quality, including the Water Framework Directive.
After the completion of this course, for the grade Passed with distinction the student should be able to:
5. Demonstrate proficiency with genus and species-level macroinvertebrate taxonomy
6. Suggest potential remediation and restoration efforts to achieve water quality goals in response to different types of anthropogenic stressors. 
7. Critically evaluate biomonitoring and water quality data and be able to suggest best practices for the monitoring of specific types of freshwater ecosystems.


Required Knowledge

60 ECTS in biology of which 15 in ecology, or 60 ETCS in earth science and 15 in ecology, or 60 ECTS in environmental science and 15 in ecology, or the equivalent.

Proficiency in English equivalent to Swedish upper secondary course English A/5. Where the language of instruction is Swedish, applicants must prove proficiency in Swedish to the level required for basic eligibility for higher studies.

Form of instruction

The course will include lectures, project studies, laboratory work, field sampling, presentations, report writing, and excursions. Excursions, laboratory work, field sampling, and presentations are compulsory. These activities emphasize methods and skills that are important to career advancement in this field.

Examination modes

Examination takes place through lab practical, a written report and a written final exam. The rating given on the examinations and the whole course is Fail (U), Pass (G) or Pass with Distinction (VG). For Pass with distinction on the whole course, the student must achieve Pass with distinction on the final examination and at least one of the other two examinations. Anyone who passes the tests can not retake them to obtain higher grades. To pass the entire course all tests and compulsory parts must be approved. The grade of the course is based on all examinations and is set only after all mandatory elements are approved. A student who has failed two tests for a course or a part of a course, is entitled to have another examiner appointed, unless there are specific reasons against it (HF 6 chap. 22§). Requests for new examiners are made to the head of the Department of Ecology and Environmental Science.

Students have the right to have their previous education or equivalent knowledge and skills acquired in the profession tested wether it can be credited for the corresponding course at Umeå University. Application for credit is submitted to the Student Centre / Examinations. For more information on credit transfer available on Umeå University's student web,, and the Higher Education Ordinance (Chapter 6). A refusal of accreditation may be appealed against (Higher Education Ordinance Chapter 12) to the University Appeals Board. This applies to the whole as well as part of the application if accreditation is refused.


Valid from: 2017 week 35