2019-2020 / OCEA0088-1

Marine ecology


15h Th, 4d FW

Number of credits

 Master in oceanography (120 ECTS)4 crédits 


Sylvie Gobert, Mathieu Poulicek


Sylvie Gobert

Language(s) of instruction

English language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

The ocean is the largest biome on the biosphere, and the place where life first evolved. Life in a viscous fluid, such as seawater, imposed particular constraints on the structure and functioning of ecosystems, impinging on all relevant aspects of ecology, including the spatial and time scales of variability, the dispersal of organisms, and the connectivity between populations and ecosystems.
The Marine Ecology is the scientific study of marine-life habitat, populations, and interactions among organisms and the surrounding environment including their abiotic and biotic features.
Marine ecology is a subset of the study of marine biology and includes observations at the biochemical, cellular, individual, and community levels as well as the study of marine ecosystems and the biosphere.
The course of Marine Ecology provides an introduction to ecology focuses on specific marine ecological concept, covering interactions between marine organisms and the environment at scales of populations, communities, and ecosystems.
Outline contents

  • Introduction
  • General concepts in ecology applied to marine ecology: definitions, ecological factors, production, productivity, trophic webs, interspecific relations, competition, predation, zonation of organisms,...
  • Ecology of the some marine communities: abyssal zones, coral reefs, vents, seagrass
  • A case study: the Mediterranean Sea (this bassin is ideal to understand the basic concepts in Marine ecology (colonization, climax, invasive species...)

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

The course will

  • give a basic knowledge of ecological characteristics and processes in the marine environment.
  • show the importance, complexity and fragile aspects of different types of marine habitats.
The student will

  • be abble to explain the factors that determine the spatial and temporal distributions and abundance populations and communities of marine organisms in relation with biotic and abiotic factors.
  • be abble to apply ecological principles
  • be abble to work constructively both independently and collaboratively and communicate effectively about Marine Ecology (issues and ideas) using language that can be understood by the public and scientists.
  • use some methods applied in marine ecology during the field trip.
  • develop ability to collect, analyse and interpret marine ecological data.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

A  basic knowledge of the concepts in ecology

Planned learning activities and teaching methods


  • Lectures and sessions of discussion
  • A field trip on Corsica at STARESO (September2019: For MER Students; Mai 2020for Master Oceano students)

Mode of delivery (face-to-face ; distance-learning)

Courses in face-to-face.
The attention of the student is regularly requested during tutorial classes.
Field trip at STARESO (Calvi-Corse)

Recommended or required readings

The ppt constitute the basis of the course, they contain the essential information and not all of the oral comments given during the course.
The ppt are accessible on myUlg or given at the end of each course. The ppts, videos, articles are in English, the whole course is given in English.

Assessment methods and criteria

The evaluation is based on 2 parts:
An oral exam (after a preparation with ppts)  (2 questions).
The student can answer in english or in french

Work placement(s)

Field trip During the field trip (station STARESO of the University of Liège- Calvi Corsica) the concepts to a practical study of the distribution of the marine organisms in relation to biotic and abiotique factors are applied.
These approaches are made in snorkelling, in scuba diving* followed by determinations under binocular, photographic documents taken by the student.
*not compulsory
* not compulsary, only possible if you have your licence and a medical check-ups done less than 12 months ago

Organizational remarks

  • Respect class times.
  • If you contact the secretary or the professor by e-mail,  do not expect the replies to be immediate. Please, be patient.
  • University-assigned student e-mail is the Official means of communication with all students.


Prof Sylvie Gobert Océanologie Institut de Chimie. B6c-2/49 Tél: 04 3663329 e-mail:sylvie.gobert@uliege.be                                      Secretariat M Lunetta: 04 366 50 62
https://www.facebook.com/oceanbioulg/ http://labos.ulg.ac.be/oceanologie/ http://www.stareso.ulg.ac.be/
Dr Mathieu Poulicek Unite d'Ecologie Marine, Laboratoire d'Ecologie animale et d'Ecotoxicologie Tél: 04 3665067 e-mail: mpoulicek@uliege.be

  • Meeting with my secretary: Mrs Mariella Lunetta is in her office  (B6C, room 1/21 , Sart Tilman) the Tuesday from 8:30 -10:30 am and the Thursday from 13:30-15:00.
  • Meeting with me: I will make time available during and directly after the classes for your questions. I rarely can be available for unscheduled meeting. To make appointment , call 04 366 50 62 (Mrs Lunetta) or send an email: M.Lunetta@uliege.be
  • My malbox is in the room 2/48.
We ask for your co-operation with these regulations.