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Megafauna PhD Short Course 2019

August 19-23, 2019

Deadline for registration is May 24, 2019


Professor Jens-Christian Svenning of Aarhus University announces a PhD course (4 ECTS) on megafauna and their importance for ecosystem functioning. Megafauna have roamed Earth for millions of years, but have been, and still are, disproportionally affected by human-driven extinctions and local extirpation. Quantifying the associated loss of ecological functions is key to understanding the role of (absent) megafauna and to inform emerging scientific and societal debates on megafauna, e.g. with regard to rewilding as a conservation strategy.

Specifically, the course will provide a general overview of megafauna ecosystem ecology including the evolutionary history and biogeography of megafauna, current theoretical concepts of megafauna-ecosystem interactions, practical analysis of megafauna trait and occurrence datasets, overview of megafauna conservation and restoration ecology, and a rigorous assessment of ongoing and future megafauna-based rewilding projects. It will also include training in spatial and community analyses relevant to megafauna ecology in R. Finally, participants will engage in outreach activities on megafauna, through science-based but non peer-reviewed writing, which may be published in a relevant outlet at the conclusion of the course.

The course will include a field excursion to Lille Vildmose, one of the main rewilding projects in Denmark hosting red deer, moose, and wild boar.  Among many other species, there are confirmed sightings of golden eagle, white-tailed eagle and golden jackal.

This course is part of the ongoing MegaPast2Future Project (http://projects.au.dk/mega/) and is generously supported by a Carlsberg Foundation Semper Ardens Grant.


Instructors for the short course include:

Professor Jens-Christian Svenning

Dr. Robert Buitenwerf

Dr. Scott Jarvie

Internal and external guest speakers:

Dr. Joris Cromsigt    

Dr. Camilla Flojgaard

Dr. Christopher Edward Gordon

Dr. Sophie Monsarrat

Dr. Susanne Marieke Vogel


August 19-23, 2019 (Final projects are due September 14, 2019)


Center for Biodiversity Dynamics in Changing World (BIOCHANGE) and Section for Ecoinformatics and Biodiversity (ECOINF), co-located in the Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Ny Munkegade 114, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark


The course will consist of a mixture of lectures, discussion groups, hands on analytical labs, and a field excursion. With the guidance of the instructors, course participants will complete small writing and communication projects on megafauna ecology, suitable for publication for science outreach. Full participation is required to earn ECTS credits. Course participants must also be able to speak and write in English.

Cost overview:

The course will cost 1000 DKK to attend.


Deadline for registration is May 24, 2019. Information regarding admission will be sent out no later than May 31, 2019.

For registration: Applicants must submit a CV and one page motivation letter to Scott Jarvie, email:  sjarvie@bios.au.dk, or Robert Buitenwerf, email: buitenwerf@bios.au.dk

If you have any questions, please contact Scott Jarvie, e-mail: sjarvie@bios.au.dk, or Robert Buitenwerf, email: buitenwerf@bios.au.dk

Exmoor horses and Galloway cattle used in a trophic rewilding project at Mols Bjerge National Park, Denmark