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Global change biology

Explore the drivers, effects and solutions of global environmental change, its impact on biodiversity, and the implications for human societies

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CIVIS focus area
Climate, environment and energy
Open to
  • Master's
Field of studies
  • Environment & Agriculture
  • Natural Sciences and Mathematics
  • Social Science and humanities
  • CIVIS Hub 1
Course dates
26 September 2022 - January 2023

The CIVIS course on “global change biology” is a one-semester course that takes place in Autumn within the natural sciences Master of science program at Sapienza Università di Roma. The course’s content has been chosen to be as comprehensive as possible and it is intended for students from different scientific backgrounds.

The course offers an overview on global change and its drivers with a major focus on key drivers of environmental change but also offering a perspective on the relation among society, economics and politics.


Insights on

  • The complex responses of biodiversity to global change pressures, and the implications for nature’s contributions to people (NCPs)
  • Impact of global change on ecosystem and ecological communities
  • Implications of global change on human communities (emerging infectious diseases, climate risk, land use change, pests and locusts, crops and pollination)
  • Conservation action in an era of global change: rewilding, restoration ecology, and area-based conservation
  • Global challenges to conservation under global change: cascade effects, tele-coupling mechanisms, synergies and trade-offs among multiple objectives
  • Conceptualisations of the interdependences between nature and society and economy
  • Socio-economic responses emerging from the field of ecological economics in response to conservation and protection of natural assets
  • International policy in an era of global change: convention on biological diversity, the sustainable development goals and WHO’s one health framework, UNFCCC and the Paris agreement, the European green deal and the European common agricultural policy

Main topics

  • Climate change
  • Land-use change
  • Defaunation and biodiversity conservation
  • Ecosystem-level impacts
  • Nature’s contributions to people
  • Interaction among environmental, economic, political and societal dynamics
  • Ecological economics
  • International environmental policy

Learning outcomes

  • Strengthen quantitative and theoretical knowledge of sustainability science
  • Strengthen knowledge of global environmental challenges present and future
  • Increase mastery of biodiversity conservation practices and environmental sustainability at a global scale
  • Understand basic principles of global change based on case studies across the world
  • Develop their critical thinking for analysing global-scale dynamics of environmental degradation
  • Develop their ability to analyse anthropogenic drivers of environmental change
  • Develop their ability to transfer of knowledge across global change disciplines
Dates: 26 September 2022-January 2023 Format: Virtual
Language: English (B2) ECTS: 6* 
Contact hours: 48 hours Contact point: Dr. Moreno Di Marco

*The recognition of ECTS depends on your home university. 

This CIVIS course will be running for 12 weeks.

A maximum of 25 international CIVIS students will be accepted in the course in a total of 50 students.

Schedule of the course

This CIVIS course will consist of 24 sessions (lecture and thematic seminars) of 2 hours each and will take place with a frequency of two sessions per week. 

Click here to find more information about the schedule and details of the course.


This CIVIS course is open to Master's students at one of the 10 CIVIS member universities.

Students should have had at least one exam related to ecology, environmental or natural sciences.

A B2 level of English is required. 

Application process

Students should apply by 22 August 2022, by filling this online form.
With the form, applicants are invited to submit a short university career resume with a complete list of exams undertaken during their studies and a short motivation statement. The career resume should be in English or an English translation should be provided by the student alongside the original document (an informal translation would suffice).

Students will be chosen according to the pertinence of their career to the topics of the course, their motivation to attend the course, and their English knowledge.

Selected students will be notified by the end of August.


Course evaluation is divided in two parts:

  • Group seminar presentations on global change topics, with related questions session (20% of final mark*). The topic of the seminar will be proposed by students during the final part of the course and agreed by the professors
  • Individual exam with 5 open-ended questions, either written (80% of final mark*)

An evaluation committee will listen to and grade the seminar presentations and will grade the answers to the questions of the exam.

*The final mark will be the result of the best 5 evaluations between the seminar and the 5 questions exam (lowest mark is discarded).

General Eligibility Criteria for CIVIS Courses

Applicants need to be enrolled at their home university in order to be eligible for selection and participation.  If uncertain about your status at your home university (part-time or exchange students etc) please check with your home university’s website or International Office. 

Applicants who will be receiving other Erasmus funds for the duration of the course are not entitled to funding. Participation in the course may still be possible under “zero-grant” status, but applicants should contact their home university in order to confirm this. 

A list of links and contacts for each university can be found in this Q&A.

GDPR Consent

The CIVIS alliance and its member universities will treat the information you provide with respect. Please refer to our privacy policy for more information on our privacy practices. By applying to this course you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

  • Dr. Moreno Di Marco is an assistant professor of ecology and zoology at Sapienza Università di Roma with a great passion for conservation biology. His research focuses on the challenges that global change poses to biodiversity but he also interested in developing quantitative techniques for addressing large-scale conservation problems and evaluate how the solutions to these problems interact with the achievement of other societal goals. During his career he has worked for Universities, NGOs, and GOs across Europe and Australia, collaborating with more than 300 researchers worldwide.


  • Dr. Luigi Maiorano was trained in the USA, with work experiences in Switzerland. He is an associate professor in zoology at Sapienza Università di Roma. He is a biogeographer and a macro-ecologist, with a vivid interested in conservation biology from local to continental/global spatial scales. His research focus on terrestrial vertebrates and Mediterranean ecosystems, with a strong emphasis on statistical analyses in a spatially explicit context.


  • Dr. Anna Treydte is an associate professor in nature and environmental management, with a focus on sustainable development, at the dept of physical geography, at Stockholm University. Her main research focus lies in assessing how climate change and human activities alter ecosystem functions and services. She analyses spatio-temporal patterns of plant-animal interactions and animal population management, human-wildlife coexistence and livestock impacts on rangelands across the world. She has included socio-ecological aspects and her research spans across various spatial and temporal scales in temperate, desert, tropical and subtropical environments. Anna has taught at various international universities from Bachelor of science to PhD level and has an extensive supervision and mentoring experience.


  • Dr. Tom Bauler is a professor of ecological economics at the faculty of sciences of the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB). His current research focuses on societal change and transition/transformation dynamics, with a key interest in exploring the governance of low carbon societies as well as the development of post-growth narratives. He also co-pilots the transfaculty research network on socio-ecological transformations at ULB.