Bergen Summer Research School
Course | BSRS 2021

Sustainable development of life below water

In 2015 the United Nations adopted 17 interconnected Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) addressing the global challenges of poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, prosperity, peace, and justice. Through active learning and working in teams, this course sets focus on SDG14: Life below water.

Main content

Course leaders
Katja Enberg, Associate Professor in fisheries science, Department of Biological Sciences, UiB.
Gabriella Ljungström, Postdoctoral fellow, Department of Biological Sciences, UiB.

SDG14 aims at "conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development", and has 10 specified targets related to marine pollution and conservation, sustainable fisheries, and global change. The students will acquire knowledge and skills related to science, policy, and society necessary for contributing towards sustainable development of life below water.

SDGs form a complete set of goals, and even though the focus of this course is on SDG14, we will explore the interconnections and trade-offs with the other SDGs – for example, how to simultaneously protect life under water and eradicate hunger?

We have designed this course for PhD candidates with an interest in sustainable development and life under water. It is relevant for a broad range of disciplines, and the resultant diversity among the students will facilitate reaching the learning outcomes by everyone bringing their own specific expertise to the group.

Learning outcomes

  • Explain physical and biological ocean processes that contribute to making the problems under SDG14 global.


  • Analyse and interrelate SDG14 targets in light of other SDG targets.
  • Find, navigate, and make connections between scientific literature and the literature of reports, conventions, and policy documents.
  • Identify stakeholders and analyse their motives.
  • Evaluate existing research and suggest research needs related to SDG14.

General competences:

  • Be able to compose and use scientifically grounded arguments for societally relevant debates.
  • Be able to provide peer feedback while balancing critical and constructive views.
  • Identify and separate between scientific knowledge, values, beliefs, and ideologies.

Participation at the BSRS is credited under the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). Participants submitting an essay, in a form of a publishable manuscript of 10-20 pages, after the end of the summer school will receive 10 ECTS. Deadline for submission will be decided by your course leader.

It is also possible to participate without producing an essay. This will give you 4 ECTS. In order to receive credits, we expect full participation in the course-specific modules, plenary events and roundtables.

Katja Enberg is an evolutionary ecologist and an associate professor in fisheries science with long experience from international fisheries management. The main focus of her research group Sustainable Fisheries Group is on ensuring sustainable use of marine resources and contribute towards the SDGs, in particular SDG14.

Katja uses different modelling tools to investigate how anthropogenic stressors such as fishing and climate change influence the lifehistory and behaviour traits and the eco-evolutionary dynamics of natural populations. Katja has developed the course SDG214, which this course is building upon. Here you can watch three movies of that course.

Gabriella Ljungström is a postdoctoral researcher in evolutionary ecology at the University of Bergen. Her research has mainly focused on understanding how environmental changes, and particularly climate change, may affect animals in seasonal environments. As research tools she has used both statistical and theoretical models and her aim is to help improve empirical and theoretical studies by highlighting important mechanisms. Gabriella also has an interest in sustainable use of marine resources and will be the course leader of the course SDG14 from 2021.      

Required reading

United Nations 2015: Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Available at https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/transformingourworld/publication

Independent Group of Scientists appointed by the Secretary-General, Global Sustainable Development Report 2019: The Future is Now – Science for Achieving Sustainable Development, (United Nations, New York, 2019). Available at https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/24797GSDR_report_2019.pdf

The students will also search and read relevant literature independently during the course.