Single-Course English 5 ECTS

Evidence Based Advice for Aquatic Management

Overall Course Objectives

This course has two overarching objectives: the first is to provide students with specific skills for the review and synthesis of existing scientific knowledge in support of unbiased foundations for scientific research and the production of management and policy advice. The second is to provide experience of a realistic working scenario for the production of evidence based advice, and exposure to the producers and recipients of such advice in an aquatic resource management context. This course aims to provide concrete skills and knowledge that are often learned on the job, in an impromptu manner.

Learning Objectives

  • Determine the range of ecosystem services that a given case-study habitat/resource provide.
  • Identify possible management tools that could be employed to protect a case-study habitat/resource.
  • Discuss the policies that enable implementation of the identified management tools and where there are cases of potential alignment or conflict.
  • Evaluate management strategies for the protection of single ecosystem components within a case-study.
  • Appraise proposed management strategies for a range of ecosystem components in a given case-study habitat/resource.
  • Recommend a management strategy for a given habitat/resource. Justify the selected actions by describing the trade-offs and interactions between different ecosystem components.
  • Conduct a systematic literature review and synthesise findings.
  • Produce and present communicative posters targeting a scientific audience.
  • Produce and evaluate written recommendations for managers and policy makers based on best available knowledge as summarised and presented by peers.
  • Evaluate and provide constructive feedback on peer’s scientific posters and advisory reports.

Course Content

The management of aquatic resources is shifting away from a focus on single system components (such as fisheries or water quality) and towards more holistic forms of management; (i.e. Ecosystem Approach to Management). While there are varying degrees of complexity under this umbrella term (e.g. EBFM or ICZM), they all share a requirement for the synthesis of existing knowledge across disparate disciplines.
There are many actors and stakeholders, (e.g. ministries, construction consultancies, environmental NGOs, fisheries organisations, wind energy companies, local governments), with traditionally narrow focuses, who require people with the ability to collate, digest and synthesise knowledge from outside their traditional realm of experience, to provide advice with a broad, systemic view. This course provides an opportunity to learn appropriate tools and skills for these tasks, as well as an opportunity to gain experience in the collaborative nature of producing advice, all while facilitating interaction with potential future employers. Topics covered in this course include (1) ecosystem services and trade-offs, (2) how to undertake systematic reviews, (3) what is stakeholder engagement, (4) the relevance of legislation in advice, (5) science communication, (6) from policy to management action and (7) the synthesis of knowledge in support of advice.
The course is structured around a topical, multi-stakeholder management problem in the realm of aquatic resources (e.g. the extraction of sediment from the Øresund for construction). This problem is identified by the course responsible, in collaboration with representatives from industry / public sector, each year. In the first class, this pre-identified problem is analysed as a class and dissected into smaller components (e.g. fish production, water quality, coastal erosion, marine mammal conservation). Working in pairs or independently, students utilise their diversity of backgrounds and personal knowledge to address one sub-component per pair, by undertaking a systematic review during a series of class-time workshops and as home assignments. The results of this review are presented in a poster session, held halfway through the course, where stakeholders who were involved in deciding the problem are invited to attend. Posters will be graded by teachers and peer-grading during the poster session. Subsequently, the collection of results and posters from the whole class form the foundation of knowledge from which individuals write an advisory report on the broader, multi-sectorial problem as the final assessment. During this second half of the course, lectures and guest lectures will inspire management solutions and how to best produce evidence

Teaching Method

Translational Problem Based Learning. One “wicked problem”, proposed by industry / government, is broken down and investigated by small teams before individual work to synthesise the class’ findings. Lessons composed of short lectures with a lot of workshop time & guest lectures from industry / advisory agencies.



This course provides students with competences relevant to UN SDGs, particularly #14 (Life below water), #16 (Strong institutions), #12 (Responsible consumption and production), but also #6, #7, #11 & #13.

Students are recommended to take this course towards the end of their education, such that they bring their accumulated knowledge to apply in this course.

See course in the course database.





13 weeks




DTU Hirtshals Campus

Course code 25342
Course type Candidate
Semester start Week 35
Semester end Week 48
Days Tues 13-17

7.500,00 DKK