2019-2020 / OCEA0158-1

Phytoplankton, a tool for supporting the management of the marine environment


10h Th, 8h Pr, 10h Mon. WS

Number of credits

 Master in oceanography (120 ECTS)4 crédits 


Anne Goffart

Language(s) of instruction

French 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

Phytoplankton has an important ecological function as primary producer that fuels the ocean food web. Additionally, it can produce major impacts on water quality. It is therefore a key element for assessing the health status of marine ecosystems.
In this context, the course will focus on :

  • the control of phytoplankton dynamics by physical, chemical and biological constraints at different spatial and temporal scales;
  • changes in phytoplankton dynamics driven by climate change and human activities (driving forces - pressures - state - impacts - responses approach);
  • phytoplankton and water quality;
  • harmful algal blooms (HABs) and biotoxins;
  • phytoplankton and European regulation;
  • phytoplankton indicators for the assessment of water quality : present state and challenges.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

To provide the student with a scientific basis for understanding why and how phytoplankton can be useful to support management of the marine environment.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

Basic knowledge in physical and chemical oceanography.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Theoretical courses, exercices (TD) and laboratory practicals (Pr).
Laboratory practicals (Pr) include phytoplankton pigments analysis (HPLC), in order to characterize phytoplankton communities;
Exercices (TD) are direct applications of theorical concepts given during the lectures. They are case study based on real data sets;
Realization of a personal work which will allow each student to use the concepts presented during the theoretical lectures. The working time at home is included in the credits of the present course.

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


Recommended or required readings

Reference articles and useful web links are given to students.

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral evaluation

Work placement(s)

Organizational remarks

The course schedule is drawn up by mutual agreement between the students and the teacher;
Students will work on their own computer.


Dr Anne Goffart - A.Goffart@uliege.be University of Liège, Oceanology  Phone +32 (0)4 366 50 76