BIO/07 - 6 CFU - 2° Semester

Teaching Staff


Learning Objectives

The course aims to provide knowledge on climate change and their effects on organisms, communities and ecosystems, analyzing their causes, impacts and future scenarios. The fundamental objective will also be to study the phenomena of desertification, highlighting the causes and the related consequences on biodiversity

Course Structure

The entire Climate Changes course will be given in English. Upon request, a final examination in English will be possible. Should teaching be carried out in mixed mode or remotely, it may be necessary to introduce changes with respect to previous statements, in line with the programme planned and outlined in the syllabus.

Detailed Course Content

Ecological climatology is an interdisciplinary framework to understand the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems in the Earth system. It examines the physical, chemical, and biological processes by which ecosystems affect and are affected by climate. The central theme is that terrestrial ecosystems, through their cycling of energy, water, chemical elements, and trace gases, are important determinants of climate change and loss of species, ecosystems and ecosystem services. The coupling between climate and vegetation is explored at different spatial scales and timescales with a particular focus on Africa. Natural vegetation dynamics and human land use are shown to be important mechanisms of climate change. The North African Sahel, Sicily and Indonesia are examples of climate-ecosystem dynamics. Deforestation, desertification and urbanization are case studies of how human uses of land alter climate.

Textbook Information

1) M. Begon, J. L. Harper & C. R. Townsend (2006 or later). Ecology. Blackwell

2) J. E. Cohen (1995). Population growth and earth's human carrying capacity. Science 269, 341-346.

3) S. L. Lewis & M. A. Masli (2015). Defining the Anthropocene. Nature (2015) doi:10.1038/nature14258

4) G. Bonan (2015). Ecological Climatology: Concepts and Applications. Cambridge University Press.

5) G. West (TED Talk)

Open in PDF format Versione in italiano