Study module

Show study events
ASPB1102 Arctic Ecosystems and Adaptation of Species to Arctic Environment, 5 ECTS cr. 
Code ASPB1102  Validity 01.01.1950 -
Name Arctic Ecosystems and Adaptation of Species to Arctic Environment  Abbreviation Arctic Ecosyste 
Credits5 ECTS cr.  Date of expiry  
TypeBasic studies Subject0959 Multidisciplinary, International 
ClassCourse  Hours  
Study right   GradingPass, Fail, Grades 1-5 
Recommended timing 
Organisation Faculty of Social Sciences 

Mari Kuoppamaa 
Osmo Rätti 
Päivi Soppela 
Sari Stark 
Minna Turunen 


After completion of the course the student is able to

  • identify the main features and functions of circumpolar tundra, boreal forest and marine ecosystems
  • recognize interactions and relationships between the Arctic ecosystems and other parts of the globe
  • examine evolution and adaptation mechanisms of plants and animals into Arctic environment.

The course contains the following themes:

1) The evolution and distribution of tundra and boreal forest ecosystems, emphasizing vegetation, plant-animal interactions and natural and anthropogenic disturbance patterns and processes.

2) Processes and global interactions affecting to marine productivity and biodiversity, interactions between marine and terrestrial ecosystems and threats to Arctic marine life.

3) Morphological, physiological and behavioural adaptations of plants and/or animals to the northern environment with basic information on evolution, natural selection and challenges of the climate change.


Previous studies 

Course ASPB1101 Introduction to the Arctic (5 ECTS cr.) has to be passed before attending this course.


Lectures (30 h), independent work (100 h).


Active participation in the lectures, successful completion of a written essay or an exam.

Supplementary Literature 

Literature (suggested):

ACIA 2005. Arctic Climate Impact Assessment. Scientific report. Chapters 7 & 14.

Arctic Marine Biodiversity Monitoring Plan, pp. 108–125. Available at

Barboza, P. S., Parker, K. L. & Hume, I.D. 2010. Integrative Wildlife Nutrition. Springer Verlag, 342 pp.

Bardgett, R. 2005. The Biology of Soil. A community and ecosystem approach. Oxford University Press, Chapter 5. Above-ground trophic interactions and soil biological communities (pp. 119–139).

Bigras F. J., Colombo S. J. 2001. Conifer Cold Hardiness. Kluwer Academic Publishers. Dordrecht Boston London. 596 pp.

Blix, A. S. 2005. Arctic Animals and Their Adaptations to Life on the Edge. Tapir Academic Press.

Blix, A. S. 2016. Adaptations to polar life in mammals and birds. J. Exp. Biol. 219:1093-1105. doi: 10.1242/jeb.120477.

CAFF (Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna) 2001: Arctic Flora and Fauna: Status and Conservation. Edita. 272 pp.

Cockburn, A. 1991. An Introduction to Evolutionary Ecology. Blackwell, Oxford.

Crawford R. M. M. 1989. Studies in Plant Survival. Blackwell Scientific Publications. Oxford. 296p.

Crawford R. M. M. 2008. Plants at the Margin. Ecological Limits and Climate Change. Cambridge University Press.

Crawford, R. M. M. 2014. Tundra-taiga biology. Human, Plant and Animal Survival in the Arctic. Oxford University Press, 270 pp.

Davenport, J. 1992. Animal life at low temperature. Chapman & Hall, London.

Eamer, J., Donaldson, G. M., Gaston, H. et al. 2013. Life linked to Ice. A guide to sea-ice associated biodiversity in this time of rapid change. CAFF Assessment Series No. 10. Coservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna, Iceland. Available at: target=_blank>

Glossary of terms for thermal physiology, 2001. Third edition. The Japanese Journal of Physiology. 51: 2. Available at target=_blank>

IPCC 2014. Chapter 28. Polar Regions. Observed changes, Terrestrial ecosystems, Arctic (pp. 1577–1581), Projected Impacts, Terrestrial ecosystems, Arctic (pp. 1589–1590).

Marchand P. J. 1991. Life in the Cold. An Introduction to Winter Ecology. University Press of New England. Hanover and London. 239 pp.

Marchand, P. J. 1996. Life in the cold: An introduction to winter ecology. University Press of New England, Hanover.

Pond, C. 1998. Fats of life. Cambridge University Press. 337 pp.

Sakai A., Larcher W. 1987. Frost Survival of Plants. Responses and Adaptation to freezing stress. Ecological Studies 62. Springer-Verlag. 321 pp.

Skelton, P. (ed.) 1992. Evolution: a biological and palaeontological approach (Book 1). The Open University.


Grades 1-5/fail


Autumn / 1 st period

Exam dates 

4 Oct time 12-16 Lecture Hall LS1 (= Fellman-sali), University Main Building, Yliopistonkatu 8


Principle tutor:
University Researcher Sari Stark, PhD, Arctic Centre.

University Researcher Osmo Rätti, PhD; University Researcher Päivi Soppela, PhD; University Researcher Minna Turunen, PhD; University Researcher Sari Stark, PhD; Research Professor Bruce Forbes, PhD (Arctic Centre).

Language of instruction 



This course is compulsory for the students of the Arctic Studies Programme and optional for other students.


Current and upcoming courses
Functions Name Type ECTS cr. Teacher Schedule
Reg. time is off. Arctic Ecosystems and Adaptation of Species to Arctic Environment  Lecture course  Mari Kuoppamaa,
Osmo Rätti,
Päivi Soppela,
Sari Stark,
Minna Turunen 
23.09.19mon 12.00-15.00
24.09.19tue 12.00-15.00
25.09.19wed 09.00-12.00
26.09.19thu 09.00-12.00
27.09.19fri 09.00-12.00
30.09.19mon 09.00-12.00
01.10.19tue 12.00-15.00
02.10.19wed 12.00-15.00
03.10.19thu 12.00-15.00
07.10.19mon 12.00-15.00

Upcoming exams
No exams.