Natural Water Systems (MLJ510)

Natural Water Systems gives an introduction to the main water systems on earth - surface waters and water systems in soil and atmosphere - salt- and fresh waters. Emphasis is put on aquatic ecology and biogeochemistry with particular focus on understanding and description of conditions and processes for analyses of aquatic environmental risk. The course contributes to the knowledge base for environmental management and for aquatic environmental technology, which are key topics for being able to fulfill the UN sustainability goals.

Course description for study year 2024-2025. Please note that changes may occur.


Course code




Credits (ECTS)


Semester tution start


Number of semesters


Exam semester


Language of instruction



Basic knowledge of all Earth's water systems, hereunder:

  • The Atmosphere (atmospheric processes, climate and weather, hydrological cycle)
  • Freshwater systems (catchment hydrology, rivers and groundwaters, lakes and wetlands, glaciers and permafrost, particular focus on lake eutrophication and biogeochemical processes)
  • Sea water systems (ocean basins, wind and ocean circulation, waves and tides, coasts)
  • Particles in water, sedimentation and sediments (sea-, lake-, river sediments and soils)
  • Organisms and ecology (fresh- and sea water fauna, habitats and ecology)

Learning outcome

  • The student shall acquire broad basic knowledge about ecology in natural water systems, hereunder physical and climatic basics and processes, systems ecology, biology and biogeochemistry. This will form basis for conducting environmental analyses with respect to public and industrial environmental management, environmental research and development of relevant environmental technology. The approach within water systems has a general relevance to other environmental issues, and the course's scientific basis and approach will be useful in a wide specter of jobs in public administration and industrial technology development and environmental management. It also contributes to the scientific bases and understanding of subsequent courses in the environmental engineering study.

Required prerequisite knowledge


Recommended prerequisites

This course should be taken simultaneously with MLJ500 and MLJ530.


Written exams

Form of assessment Weight Duration Marks Aid
Written midterm exam 1/2 3 Hours Letter grades Dictionary
Written final exam 1/2 3 Hours Letter grades Dictionary

The exams are digital.All assessment parts must be passed in order to obtain a final grade in the course.There will be no resit exam for the midterm exam. Students who do not pass the midterm exam may retake this the next time the course is lectured.

Coursework requirements

Compulsory laboratory work and participation in field courses

Participation to field course.

Completion of mandatory lab assignments connected to the field course are to be made at the times and in the groups that are assigned and published on Canvas. Absence due to illness or for other reasons must be communicated to the laboratory personnel as soon as possible. One cannot expect that provisions for completion of the lab assignments at other times can be made, unless prior arrangements with the laboratory personnel have been agreed.

Failure to complete the assigned field and labs or not having them approved will result in not being able to access the exam.

Course teacher(s)

Coordinator laboratory exercises:

Erling Berge Monsen

Course coordinator:

Steinar Sanni

Head of Department:

Ingunn Westvik Jolma

Method of work

4-6 hours lectures per week. Field- and laboratory courses coordinated with parallel 1st semester courses.

Overlapping courses

Course Reduction (SP)
Natural Water Systems (MET150_1) 10

Open for

Admission to Single Courses at the Faculty of Science and Technology
Biological Chemistry - Master of Science Degree Programme Environmental Engineering - Master of Science Degree Programme Structural and Mechanical Engineering - Master of Science Degree Programme Industrial Asset Management - Master of Science Degree Programme Marine and Offshore Technology - Master of Science Degree Programme Petroleum Engineering - Master of Science Degree Programme
Exchange programme at Faculty of Science and Technology

Course assessment

There must be an early dialogue between the course supervisor, the student union representative and the students. The purpose is feedback from the students for changes and adjustments in the course for the current semester.In addition, a digital subject evaluation must be carried out at least every three years. Its purpose is to gather the students experiences with the course.


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