Global Climate Change: effects on biodiversity and ecosystems

Credits: 
3
Site: 
PARMA
Year of erogation: 
2021/2022
Unit Coordinator: 
Disciplinary Sector: 
Environmental and Applied Botanics
Semester: 
Second semester
Year of study: 
3
Language of instruction: 

Italian

Learning outcomes of the course unit

The course aims to illustrate and connect in a logical and causal way the facts that demonstrate the existence of climate change, the process of attributing these changes to human beings, what are the fundamental skills necessary to understand the mechanisms that regulate ongoing ecological processes, why ecosystems change as climate drivers change and which ecosystem processes affect the climate, which anthropogenic activities affect the climate, what are the effects on biodiversity and how species react to climate change, what knowledge we have and how to decline it to act actively and contribute with ecological unique skills to mitigate effects of climate change and contribute to the adaptation processes.

Prerequisites

no prerequisite

Course contents summary

The ongoing climate crisis involves ecosystems, biodiversity and humans.
What are the facts that confirm the change taking place? What are the causes? What are the effects on ecosystems and biodiversity?
The course aims to train students in the critical understanding of these issues by focusing on the following topics: facts that prove the existence of climate change, the energy balance on our planet, the greenhouse effect, the climate as a result of multiple climate forcings, human responsibilities, the global carbon budget, the economic sectors most responsible for greenhouse gas emissions, the role of land use change, different responsibilities depending on the lifestyle and economy of the countries, the response of species to climate change, the effects of climate change on biodiversity, the effects of climate change on ecosystems, the ecosystems most sensitive to climate change, what can be done with naturalistic and environmental skills: the role of ecology, carbon sequestration strategy: maintain carbon in ecosystems, bring back carbon in ecosystems, climate change and extinctions, the role of our species.

Course contents

- Numerical data highlighting the presence of climate change
- the increase in temperature
- the melting of glaciers
- sea level rise
- the energy balance on our planet
- the greenhouse effect
- the history of the discovery of climate change
- the climate as a result of multiple climatic forcings
- the role of the sun, volcanoes, El Nino and other known climate fingerprints
- human responsibilities: forecasting models and attribution
- carbon and carbon dioxide
- the global carbon budget
- the economic sectors most responsible for greenhouse gas emissions
- the role of land use change
- different responsibilities according to the lifestyle and economy of the countries of our planet
- the response of species to climate change
- the effects of climate change on biodiversity
- the effects of climate change on ecosystems
- the ecosystems most sensitive to climate change
- what can be done with naturalistic and environmental skills: the role of ecology
- the strategy of carbon sequestration: maintaining carbon in ecosystems, returning carbon to ecosystems
- climate change and extinctions
- the role of our species

Recommended readings

Material (slides, scientific articles, and selected documents from IPCC AR6) made available from the teacher

Teaching methods

The course will be divided into lectures aimed at defining a general theoretical framework and in lectures, of an applicative nature, aimed at critically discussing topics related to the causes and effects of climate change starting from topics chosen by the class and presented by the students.

Assessment methods and criteria

The ability to elaborate, integrate and communicate the student's knowledge to third parties will be verified through 1) individual seminars held in the classroom during the lessons, followed by a discussion of the class and 2) oral examination on the topics covered during teaching.