Dead Wood Course 2019

Course annoucement at ForBio


Day -1     22 June 2019, Saturday      Train departure

Meeting and departure by the train group from Moscow Paveletsky Railway Station

Day 0     23 June 2019, Sunday     Arrivals

By train to Usman’ or Voronezh, flights from SVO to VOZ.
Arrivals and checkin
Excursion at the venue, museum of the reserve, beaver farm

Day 1     24 June 2019, Monday     Habitat day

9:00    Welcome, setting the scene, announcements
9:30    Local speaker: Voronezh nature reserve
10:00  COFFEE
10:30  Dmitry Schigel: Habitat and intro lectures
13:00  LUNCH
14:00  Excursion in the reserve, Cherepakhino trails
18:00  DINNER
21:00  Back to the venue

Day 2     25 June 2019     Fungal day

9:00    Håvard Kauserud: Introduction to fungi in dead wood
           Life cycles, life-history strategies, succession and biotic interactions
DNA-based assessment of fungi in wood
10:30  COFFEE
11:00  Inger Skrede: Population biology, dispersal and conservation biology of wood-inhabiting fungi.
Evolution of wood decay mechanisms
13:00  LUNCH
14:00  Alexander Kurakov Carbon and nitrogen cycles in forest ecosystems and fungal participation
14:30  Sergey Volobuev: The overlooked diversity of xylobiont fungi: peculiarities of biology and ecology of corticioid Basidiomycetes
15:00  Elena Voronina: Wood-inhabiting agaricoid fungi
15:30  Elena Bilanenko, Tatyana Semenova, Alexander Kurakov: Microbial community (microscopic fungi and prokaryotes), their composition and activity in decaying wood
16:00  COFFEE
16:30  Ludmila Kalinina: Demonstration of identification of agaricoid fungi with light microscopy
18:00  DINNER
19:00  Optional programme: bonus presentations and discussions
Nina Fillipova: Fungal community in bog forest ecosystems of Western Siberia
Ilya Viner, Lyudmila Kokaeva, Viacheslav Spirin, Otto Miettinen: A puzzling case of incomplete lineage sorting in a common wood-decaying species Basidioradulum radula (Hymenochaetales, Basidiomycota)
Maria Shumskaya: Dead wood education in the US

Day 3     26 June 2019, Tuesday     Invertebrates day

09.00  Tone Birkemoe: Introduction to insects in dead wood
09.30  Bjarte Jordal: Early stage colonizers of dead wood:  bark and ambrosia beetles and associated symbionts
10.00  Rannveig Jacobsen: Insect-fungus interactions in dead wood
10:30  COFFEE
11:00  Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson: The importance of late successional dead wood habitats – veteran trees, wood mould, continuity
11:30  Steffen Roth: Diversity and ecology of saproxylic Hemiptera
12:00  Alexander Ryss: Wood-inhabiting nematodes
12:30  Quiz time! Questions from the lectures
13:00  LUNCH
14:00  Excursion and lab time
18:00  DINNER
19:00  Alexander Ryss: Nematodes workshop / demo

Day 4     27 June 2019, Thursday     Excursion day

9:00    8h / 250 km excurion by bus, a number of forest and cultural stops
17:00  Free time and book exam preps.

Day 5     28 June 2019, Friday     Conservation day

8:30    Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson: Dead wood and conservation
9:00    Sylvie Barbalat: Dead wood in Central and Western Europe
9:30    Dmitry Schigel: Dead wood as nature and dead wood as culture
10:00  COFFEE
10:15  Book exam
11:45  End of course & goodbyes
12:00  Checkouts, free time
13:00  LUNCH

Departures via Usman’ or Voronezh (train) or VOZ airport


The intensive five-day course program is comprised by lectures, workshops, excursions, and an obligatory book exam. The target group is advanced master and PhD students. It is recommended that students have taken basic courses in entomology, mycology, and ecology. The aim of the course is to familiarize students with various aspects of the habitat, organism groups and ecological processes in dead wood. Dead wood experts will provide deeper coverage of their fields and research and will give examples of case studies and the workshop sessions. We will go through a broad range of topics, such as biodiversity in dead wood in boreal and temperate environments, biodiversity conservation and restoration, and of course all kinds of lignicolous organisms: fungi, insects, and more. Мертвая древесина живее всех живых!

Assignment, study credits, and book exam

Course attendance is 2 ECTS. Student must choose one of the books for the obligatory course exam, which takes place on the last day of the course: Afterlife of a Tree, for additional +2 ECTS, or Biodiversity in Dead Wood, +3 ECTS. These books are strongly recommended for the first-timers.

Students already familiar with dead wood systems may instead choose Ecology of Saprotrophic Basidiomycetes or Saproxylic Insects for an advanced +3 ECTS book exam. It makes sense to select these books if you are already in the field and are using saproxylic system in your studies and research.

Exam is graded pass / fail. Students who have difficulties to access study literature should contact Dmitry Schigel. It is impossible to complete the course and aquire credits without a book exam. The book must be selected and read before your arrival to the course.

  • Bobiec A, Gutowski JM, Zub K, Pawlaczyk P, Laudenslayer WF 2005. The Afterlife of a Tree. WWF Poland, 252 pp. ISBN 83-920712-1-2 (basic book, 2 credits)
  • Stokland JN, Siitonen J, & Jonsson BG 2012. Biodiversity in Dead Wood. Cambridge Univ. Press, 524 pp. ISBN 9780521717038 (intermediate level, 3 credits).
  • Lynne B, Frankland J, Van West P, eds. 2007. Ecology of saprotrophic basidiomycetes Elsevier, 386 pp. eBook ISBN 9780080551500 / ISBN 9780123741851 (advanced book on fungi, 3 credits).
  • Ulyshen MD, ed. 2018. Saproxylic Insects. Diversity, Ecology and Conservation. Springer, 904 pp. eBook ISBN 978-3-319-75937-1 / ISBN 978-3-319-75936-4 (advanced book on insects, 3 credits).


The course venue is inside one of the most impressive protected areas in Central Russia, the Voronezh State Nature Biosphere Reserve, covered by mainly broadleaf and pine forests in a basin of Usmanka river, full of beavers, thanks to reserve’s success in saving the species from extinction.


Teachers and students travelling via Usman station or Voronezh airport will be brought to and from the nature reserves by shuttles. Should you need to arrive or depart independently, see reserve’s travel advice (in Russian).

Accomodation and food

Teachers will be living in the double and single rooms, students in the dormitory with bunk beds. Bedclothes and towels are provided.

Meals will be organized starting from lunch on Sunday, 23 June till dinner on Friday, 24 June, taking into account your dietary limitations provided at registration. There is a possibility to buy some snacks and drinks in the cafe. The nearest grocery store is in [location]. You might be able to use bank card, it is recommended to have some cash in RUB for small purchases.


There is no course fee required from ForBio members or associates.  Find out about how to become a ForBio member/associate here. ForBio members and associates from Norway and Russian participants enrolled in a MSc or a PhD program are supported in full, including travel.  Accommodation is covered for non-Norwegian ForBio members (i.e. MSc and PhD students from other Scandinavian countries). Applicants outside Norway or Russia need to cover their travel costs, but may apply for financial support to cover their accommodation and meals costs.


The intenstive five-day Dead Wood Course is based on the combination of lecture, field, lab and demo activities. A significant and important part of the course takes place outdoors and the programme is not adjusted to the weather conditions. It is therefore your responsibility to bring appropriate field clothes and shoes that are suitable for the forest environment, heat, rain, mosquitoes, etc. You are advised to bring rainwear, insect repellent, sunscreen, a personal water flask.

Even thought we will be walking together, it is a good idea to have GPS, download MapsMe and regional maps for the offline use of your smartphone GPS, and to have a compass and whistle. You might like to install iNaturalist app and to make e-obervations of the sapoxylic and other organisms. As we will be in the nature reserve, sampling is not allowed within the reserve borders. Course organizers do not provide sampling or export permits. However, there will be a possibility to practice outside the protected areas. You can therefore bring a sturdy knife, forceps, some small plastic jars or eppendorf tubes, a hand lens, and paper bags.

Course team

The course team is comprized by dead wood experts from Norway and Russia.

Project teachers

Bjarte Jordal – University Museum of Bergen, University of Bergen
Steffen Roth – University Museum of Bergen, University of Bergen
Alexander Kurakov – Moscow State University
Rannveig Jacobsen – Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA)
Håvard Kauserud – Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo
Tone Birkemoe – Norwegian University of Life Sciences
Inger Skrede – Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo
Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson – Norwegian University of Life Sciences

Invited teachers

Elena Bilanenko – Moscow State University
Sylvie Barbalat
Aleksander Ryss
Elena Voronona
Ludmila Kalinina


Nina Filippova
Ilya Viner
Maria Shumskaya

Support and administration

Nataliya Budaeva
Natalia Romashova
Aino Hosia
Hugo de Boer

Course leader

Dmitry Schigel – University of Helsinki


The course is organized by the University Museum of Bergen, the Lomonosov Moscow State University, the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, the University of Oslo, the Voronezhsky State Nature Biosphere Reserve, and the Research School in Biosystematics – ForBio, with the support from the University of Helsinki, and funding from the Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education (Diku).


Our main communication media is e-mail. Emergency phone numbers will be added to this section before the course.