Ecosystem roles of megafauna in the past, present, and future—theory and methods for basic and applied science

ECTS credits:



Course parameters:

Language: English

Level of course PhD course:

Time of year: 9-13 October 2017

No. of contact hours/hours: 100 hours total: 60 contact hours, 40 hours preparation and project work.

Capacity limits: 15 Students


Objectives of the course:

This short course will provide students with a general overview of megafauna ecosystem ecology including the evolutionary history and biogeography of megafauna, current theoretical concepts related to megafauna-ecosystem interactions, practical analysis of megafauna trait and occurrence datasets, overview of megafauna conservation and restoration ecology, as well as rigorous assessment of ongoing and future megafauna-based rewilding projects.


Learning outcomes and competences:

At the end of the course, the student should be able to:

- Evaluate the role of megafauna for ecosystem functioning and ecological restoration

- Analyze a megafauna dataset using network analysis.

- Identify key datasets for fossil and modern megafauna studies and their advantages and limitations.

- Collaborate with other researchers to design and execute a short research project on megafauna ecosystem ecology and present it in a format that could be submitted to a journal for publication.


Compulsory programme:

Students must actively participate in lectures, course discussions, group projects, and workshops.


Course contents:

The course will consist of an engaging mixture of short lectures, discussion groups, and hands-on labs and will offer a detailed introduction to megafauna history and ecology.


A working knowledge of the statistical programming language R is necessary for the lab sections.


Name of lecturers:

Dr. Andreas Schweiger

Dr. Matt Davis

Dr. Jens-Christian Svenning

Dr. Timo Conradi


Invited lecturers

Dr. Christopher Sandom


Type of course/teaching methods:

Lectures, seminars, group project work, analysis workshops, field trips.


Various primary literature sources will be used (including 25 scientific papers).

Students must have R installed on their computers before the course.


Course homepage:


Course assessment:

Students will be assessed based on daily class participation and presentation and quality of their group research project, which has to be reported in the format of a manuscript suitable for a selected scientific journal, within 1 month after end of the course.


Department of Bioscience



9:00-17:00 Monday through Friday (with extra lab work time in evenings)



Aarhus campus, field trip to Lille Vildmose



Deadline for registration is 5 September 2017. Information regarding admission will be sent out no later than 10 September 2017.


For registration: Applicants must submit a CV and one page motivation letter to Matt Davis (

If you have any questions, please contact Matt Davis, e-mail:

13801 / i43