EAS 513: Terrestrial Ecosystems


Course Title

Terrestrial Ecosystems

Course Code

EAS 513

Course Type




Instructor’s Name

Assoc. Prof. Adriana Bruggeman (Lead Instructor)



Lectures / week

1 (3 hour)

Laboratories / week


Course Purpose and Objectives

Purpose: The development of climate adaptation options and sustainable natural resources management systems requires a solid understanding of terrestrial ecosystems. This includes the interactions between the terrestrial biosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere, and biogeochemical cycles. This course uses an interdisciplinary framework to understand the interactions between terrestrial ecosystems and environmental processes. It reviews basic meteorological, hydrological, and ecological concepts and their mathematical formulations to examine the physical, chemical, and biological processes by which terrestrial ecosystems affect and are affected by climate.

Objectives: This course aims to introduce the students to terrestrial ecosystems, their interactions with the environment and biogeochemical cycles. The students will gain a comprehensive understanding of the theoretical foundations, mathematical formulations and applications of terrestrial ecosystem models. To actively capture the new knowledge, students will work on practical exercises and apply and solve equations to describe and analyse ecosystems processes.

Learning Outcomes

The course will review and discuss the below listed topics. By the end of the course, students will have obtained a broad understanding of the interactions between ecosystems and the environment. The students will also have gained practical skill in developing and applying equations to describe ecosystems processes.



Background Requirements


Course Content

1. Climate change and the global biosphere
2. Terrestrial biosphere models
3. Quantitative description of ecosystems
4. Fundamentals of energy and mass transfer
5. Formulation of biological flux rates
6. Turbulent fluxes and scalar profiles in the surface layer
7. Surface energy fluxes
8. Soil temperature and soil moisture
9. Hydrologic scaling and spatial heterogeneity
10. Leaf temperature and energy fluxes
11. Leaf photosynthesis
12. Stomatal conductance and plant hydraulics
13. Radiative transfer
14. Plant canopies and profiles

Teaching Methodology

Lectures and practical exercises


1. Bonan, G. Climate Change and Terrestrial Ecosystem Modeling, 2019, Cambridge University Press
2. Bonan, G. Ecological Climatology, Concepts and Applications, 3rd ed., 2016, Cambridge University Press
3. Recent journal articles


Coursework (exercises) and final exam



Publications & Media