ENV-426 / 4 credits

Teacher(s): Battin Tom Ian, Peter Hannes Markus

Language: English


Stream and river ecosystems are increasingly deteriorated owing to global change and climate change. Students will understand basic physical, chemical and biological processes in streams and rivers, and how they relate to ecosystem health and integrity .



biogeosciences, streams and rivers, hydrodynamics, biogeochemistry, ecosystem science, benthic life, nutrient cycling, metabolism, restoration, management

Learning Prerequisites

Recommended courses

The BSc Class Aquatic Ecosystems (ENV-321) would be an asset.

Important concepts to start the course

A basic understanding of fluvial ecosystems, hydrology, geomorphology and hydraulics would be helpful.


Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the student must be able to:

  • Report on their project on fluvial biogeosciences
  • Assess / Evaluate critical environmental issues related to stream ecosystems
  • Theorize basic concepts in fluvial biogeosciences
  • Assess / Evaluate benthic life
  • Assess / Evaluate ecological restoration strategies
  • Generalize theory in fluvial biogeosciences
  • Carry out simple experiments in fluvial biogeosciences

Teaching methods

power point, black board, hand-on in the lab and in the field, computer exercises

Expected student activities

Interactions and discussions with teachers

feedback and respond to questions

feeback in an appropriate manner on the content and its presentation

conduct a supervised small research project 

report on the methods and results from the practical work

Assessment methods

written exam (80%)

reading and discussion of papers with the students (20%)


Office hours Yes
Assistants Yes



Calow P and Petts GE 1992 The Rivers Handbook. Blackwell

Dodds W and Whiles M 2010 Freshwater Ecology. Academic Press

Goldman CR, Kumagai M and Robarts RD 2013 Climatic change and glibal warming of inland wates. Wiley-Blackwell

Palmer, M. A., Hondula, K. L., & Koch, B. J. (2014). Ecological Restoration of Streams and Rivers: Shifting Strategies and Shifting Goals. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, 45(1), 247–269. doi:10.1146/annurev-ecolsys-120213-091935

Williamson, C. E., Dodds, W., Kratz, T. K., & Palmer, M. A. (2008). Lakes and streams as sentinels of environmental change in terrestrial and atmospheric processes. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 6(5), 247–254. doi:10.1890/070140

Palmer, M. A., & Febria, C. M. (2012). The Heartbeat of Ecosystems. Science, 336(6087), 1393–1394. doi:10.1126/science.1223250

Battin, T. J., Kaplan, L. A., Denis Newbold, J., & Hansen, C. M. E. (2003). Contributions of microbial biofilms to ecosystem processes in stream mesocosms. Nature,

426(6965), 439–442. doi:10.1038/nature02152

Battin, T. J., Luyssaert, S., Kaplan, L. A., Aufdenkampe, A. K., Richter, A., & Tranvik, L. J. (2009). The boundless carbon cycle. Nature Geoscience, 2(9), 598–600. doi:10.1038/ngeo618

Ressources en bibliothèque

In the programs

  • Semester: Fall
  • Exam form: Written (winter session)
  • Subject examined: Fluvial biogeosciences
  • Lecture: 2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks
  • Project: 2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks
  • Semester: Fall
  • Exam form: Written (winter session)
  • Subject examined: Fluvial biogeosciences
  • Lecture: 2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks
  • Project: 2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks

Reference week


Monday, 16h - 18h: Lecture CM1121

Monday, 18h - 19h: Project, other CM1121