BIODIVERSITA' VEGETALE E CAMBIAMENTI CLIMATICI

Degree course: 
Corso di Second cycle degree in ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES
Academyc year when starting the degree: 
2018/2019
Year: 
1
Academyc year when helding the course: 
2018/2019
Course type: 
Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class
Credits: 
6
Period: 
Second semester
Standard lectures hours: 
84
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (36 hours), Exercise (24 hours), Laboratory (24 hours)
Requirements: 

Recommended: knowledge on systematic botany (in particular of the main groups of Gymnosperms and Angiosperms) and vegetation ecology (biomes, relationship betweeen vegetation and soils and between vegetation and climate).
As the slides of the lectures will be in English, a good knowledge (at least of written English) is required.

Final Examination: 
Orale

There will be a unique final written examination with three open questions focusing on the topics addressed during the class. For every question the maximum score will be 10, allowing to achieve a final score of 30/30. The minimum sufficient score for each question (6/10) will be achieved providing the main knowledge of the main topics and problems addressed by the specific question, with emphasis on the most important issues, as underlined during the class. The evaluation will increase depending on the completeness of the answers for each question, of the details of the knowledge and information provided, of the capability of the student to identify and describe the relation among the selected topics. The evaluation 30/30 with laude will be attributed when the student preparation will be more than excellent.

Assessment: 
Voto Finale

This class aims to provide an advanced knowledge on climate change impacts on plant biodiversity and terrestrial ecosystems, focusing on issues relating to analysis, monitoring and management of climate change impacts on plant biodiversity, providing to the students the competences needed to develop environmental management plans focusing on mitigation and adaptation to climate change and to other relevant environmental disturbance factors. For these aims, also a wide range of practical examples, including the use of suitable analysis/monitoring methods will be provided to the students for the most relevant topics. Moreover, a special emphasis will be devoted to the importance of the convergent and similar impacts associated to climate change and to land use change, providing insights on practical and management issues, mainly focusing on mid-latitude ecosystems.
The field trip will be the occasion for the students to apply their knowledge to practical issues focusing on a case study representative of one or more key topics of the lectures. During the field trip the students will have to perform practical field analyses and monitoring (using different methods), developing a specific “research” project following the same organization and approach of a scientific publication. In this way the students will have the chance to test their theoretical and practical knowledge and to approach the topics through a critical approach involving topics and methods.

The class is organized in focusing on climate change impacts on vegetation biodiversity and on terrestrial ecosystems, including both vegetation composition and structure as well as on the main ecosystem processes and on the relation between vegetation and the main abiotic environmental drivers.
1. Climate Change
Climate Change and Global Change: definitions, main impacts, causes. Past climatic changes and their consequences on biota.
H. lectures: 4; h. laboratory practices: 0.
2. Evidences of recent climate change on the main abiotic environmental drivers.
H. lectures: 4; h. laboratory practices: 2.
3. Main impacts on the terrestrial ecosystems: effects on species spatial distribution (range shift), floristic composition and structure of vegetation ecosystems, processes (at different hierarchical levels, from species to ecosystem) and consequences on ecosystem services. Analysis of key scientific publications as milestones for the advance of the scientific research on climate change
H. lectures: 6; h. laboratory practices: 2.
4. Impacts of climate change and of land use change at different latitudes with different case studies: a) woodland ecosystems: from low to high latitudes
H. lectures: 6; h. laboratory practices: 0.
5. Impacts of climate change and of land use change at different latitudes with different case studies: arctic and alpine vegetation.
H. lectures: 6; h. laboratory practices: 4.
6. Climate change impacts on ecosystem functional processes with practical examples concerning species phenology, productivity, biogeochemical cycles (e.g., C cycle).
H. lectures: 8; h. laboratory practices: 8.
7. Adaptation and mitigation to climate change. Methods to assess, analyze and monitor climate change impacts.
H. lectures: 2; h. laboratory practices: 8.

The lecture slides (files .pptx or .pdf) will be provided to the students at the end of the lectures of each main topic. Moreover, the pdf files of the most important scientific papers cited during the lectures will be provided.

The teaching activities will include lectures and field practices/training. The lectures will be performed through teledidactics turning the lecture site between Como and Varese. The field practices/training activities will be carried out in the field with the assistance of suitable personnel (24 hours) and of the professor (24 hours) and they will be performed during a 3 days field trip.
For the students with certificated problems not allowing them to participate to the field trip (such as physical handicap, parents with vey young children, etc) will be selected other integrative activities to be defined for each student depending on the specific needs and issues.

The visiting time will be personalized and will be fixed by e-mail (nicoletta.cannone@uninsubria.it).