Course Syllabus

Biological Conservation and Biodiversity Lab

DIS Logo


Semester & Location:

FALL 2022 - DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Elective Course - 1 credit

Major Disciplines:

Biology, Environmental Science, Sustainability

Prerequisite: One year of biology at university level.
Corequisite Course: Biological Conservation and Biodiversity
Faculty Members:

Inger Kærgaard - 

Program contact:

Embla Thorsdottir - 

Time & Place:

Thursday, 14.50 - 16.10, F24 - 403

Description of Course

This lab will give you a more hands-on experience with topics related to conservation, biodiversity, and the management of species. You will gain some systematic skills, including how to estimate a species population, how to read field guides and collect data in the field. Students will use field guides, observational, and descriptive skills to identify species.

Be prepared to spend a considerable amount of time out side - where nature is!

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Estimate populations sizes
  • Use field guides, observational, and descriptive skills to identify birds, plants, trees and other


  • Make natural history observations

  • Your will be able to do basic biological field work

  • Appreciate diverse patterns of local species phenology and distribution, discuss the range of possible explanation, and
  • Predict or assess the impact of disturbances on local communities


Inger Kærgaard holds a MSc in biology (University of Copenhagen, 2004). Focused on sustainability and conservation biology. Project manager at a University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland. One project in environmental education was funded by the EU, another project funded by the Swiss government involved sustainable income generating activities for organic farmers in the Swiss Alps (2004-2006). Worked for various NGOs on forest protection and sustainable development in Thailand and Indonesia (2007 and 2010). Taught biology in an upper secondary school in Denmark and was also involved in an education program for sustainability education (2010-2013). Organized two photo exhibitions on forest issues. The exhibitions were supported by Danida and were based on qualitative research, which Inger carried out in South East Asia (2009 and 2012). 2019 and 2020 Inger has been doing bat consultancy for Copenhagen Municipality. Since spring 2021 Inger has her own research project on the bat population in Copenhagen.With DIS since 2014.


We are using two field guides

  • Collins Bird Guide 2nd edition Lars Svensson and Collins- we will have them available in our class room, fo you to use any time!
  • Trees of Britain and Europe G. As and A. Riedmiller- we will have them available in our class room, fo you to use any time!
  • Clare Leslie and Charles Roth (2003): “Keeping a Nature Journal”.
  • Warkentin, T. (2011). Cultivating Urban Naturalist: Teaching experiental, placed-based learning through Nature Journaling in Central Park
  • A. Robertson et al (1994). Can Bird Atlas Data be used to estimate population size? A case study using Namibian endemics.

Field Studies

1 September: Birdwatching in Utterslev Mose.

27 October: Mushroom trip


Expectations of the Students

  • Critically read the assigned readings before class with the help of handouts and questions for the given lecture (as well as on test days)

  • Laptop use is limited to PowerPoint or a document for taking notes. If you are on Facebook, Instant Messaging, etc, your participation grade will severely suffer. Occasionally, I will ask you to search for something, and in these cases internet searches are allowed.

  • Mobile phones are not allowed during class

  • Pay attention to the ‘sum ups’ during lectures, the questions and the handouts.

  • Hand in your papers and assignments on time.

  • You should be able to search for and find scientific references on you own using the Royal Library:

  • Talk to me directly, the class representatives, or the program assistant, Shannon Schooley, if there are any problems.

Approach to Teaching

This class is largley field trip based. All students are expected to have completed the course readings before class, so we can discuss the material at the right level. It is important to be well prepared for class because I may randomly select students to give key points on the readings for that day. Please feel free to talk to me after class if you have any comments, questions, or concerns. You can also use your class representatives as a resource.


Students will be evaluated on their ability to engage, observe and understand the natural surroundings.
Furthermore a value is put on critically discuss and communicate scientific concepts within biological conservation and biodiversity.



Assignment Percent of Grade
A Collection of observations  15%
Your Ambassador species 15%
Copenhagen Tree Map 10%
Nature Journal 40%
Participation 20%

Academic Regulations  

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on: 


DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia -

Course Summary:

Date Details Due