- Major 1 “Global Change Impacts on Ecology and Biodiversity” has its main focus on the ecosystem dynamics and biodiversity-ecosystem function relationships in a context of climate change. Most courses start from the state of the art understanding of the main ecological processes and drivers within specific ecosystems such as lakes, deep sea, and coastal systems, or for specific groups such as microbiota, a major functional group in aquatic systems. In addition existing insights and gaps in our knowledge on past and ongoing shifts in aquatic systems related to climate change and other pressures are covered. Also evolutionary processes based on genomics representing one of the major recent developments in natural science research are part of this major.
- Major 2 “Conservation Biology and Ecosystem Management” expands on the knowledge of marine and lacustrine biodiversity and ecological processes which was built up before. These are further developed within the major and then integrated into approaches to manage ecosystems, its resources and its relation to societal needs and impacts. To achieve this level of insight, participants are offered with skills and knowledge in complementary domains, with relevance to their natural science background. Besides fundamentally biological aspects, such as conservation genetics, also human valorization and exploitation of resources, evaluation of impacts of such action, legislation and case-study based management protocols (which constitute the conservation framework) are dealt with. In this major the future scientist and expert is thus prepared for science-based and rational choices for research, monitoring and management of marine and lacustrine systems. While strengthening expertise in biological aspects, the major develops access and understanding in other domains.
- Major 3 "Environmental Impact and Remediation" focuses on the impact that humans exert on the aquatic environment and how to deal with this. Anthropogenic impacts vary from local influences such as harbors, coastal engineering and point source pollution to more general changes such as climate and global change. Students get to understand the effects of temperature rises, ocean acidification and pollution on aquatic organisms, get acquainted with aquatic ecotoxicology and the different steps in ecological risk assessment and learn the concept of hazard mitigation by using coastal ecosystems to battle sea level rise, increasing frequency and intensity of storm surges, risk for tsunamis, and coastal erosion. Hands-on training is provided in the integrated practical that links the different courses together.
- Major 4 “Marine and Lacustrine Geosciences” has its focus on geological features and processes that are important for an interdisciplinary marine and lacustrine scientist. From an environmental perspective insights in general principles of sediment production, transport, and deposition are important for management purposes of aquatic systems. Also the study of fossil micro-organisms and their use as proxies for the reconstruction of the palaeoclimate as well as the understanding of the global climate system from paleoclimate data for better prediction of future climate change are covered in this major. These geoscientific insights are complemented with knowledge on the state of art multidisciplinary and integrated exploration strategies for offshore environments. For this major students are expected to have sufficient background in geological concepts and principles.