Dead Wood Course 2019


Day 0     23 June 2019, Sunday     Arrivals

Arrivals and check-in
13:30   LUNCH
14:00   Excursion at the venue, museum of the reserve, beaver farm
17:00   Planning meeting (teachers and assistants only)
18:30   DINNER

Day 1     24 June 2019, Monday     Habitat day

9:00    Welcome, setting the scene, announcements
10:00  COFFEE
10:30    Elena Starodubceva: Voronezh Biosphere Reserve: some results of 80 years protection of the territory and modern problems of the biological diversity conservation: PDF
11:30  Dmitry Schigel: Habitat and intro lectures
13:00  LUNCH
14:00  Excursion in the reserve, Cherepakhino trails
21:00  Back to the venue

Day 2     25 June 2019, Tuesday     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: PDF
10:30  COFFEE
11:00  Inger Skrede: Population biology, dispersal and conservation biology of wood-inhabiting fungi: PDF.
Evolution of wood decay mechanisms: PDF.
13:00  LUNCH
14:30  Alexander Kurakov Carbon and nitrogen cycles in forest ecosystems and fungal participation: PDF
15:30  Elena Bilanenko, Tatyana Semenova, Alexander Kurakov: Microbial community (microscopic fungi and prokaryotes), their composition and activity in decaying wood: PDF
16:00  COFFEE
16:30  Ludmila Kalinina: Demonstration of identification of agaricoid fungi with light microscopy: PDF
18:00  DINNER
19:00  Optional programme: bonus presentations and discussions
Nina Fillipova: Fungal community in bog forest ecosystems of Western Siberia: PDF
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 and R exercise. Resources: Teaching quantitative biology with Open Education Resources; Teaching modules on environment; DataCamp (EN) and Stepik (RU) to learn R.

Day 3     26 June 2019, Wednesday     Invertebrates day

09.00  Tone Birkemoe: Introduction to insects in dead wood: slides available upon request
10.00  Rannveig Jacobsen: Insect-fungus interactions in dead wood PDF
10:30  COFFEE
11:00  Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson: The importance of late successional dead wood habitats – veteran trees, wood mould, continuity: slides available upon request
11:30  Steffen Roth: Diversity and ecology of saproxylic Hemiptera PDF
12:00  Alexander Ryss: Wood-inhabiting nematodes PDF
13:00  LUNCH
14:00  Entomology excursion and lab time
18:00  DINNER
19:00  Alexander Ryss: Nematodes workshop PDF + Elena Starodubceva: Fire museum

Day 4     27 June 2019, Thursday     Excursion day

9:00    8h / 250 km excurion by bus, a number of forest and cultural stops
             * Kostyonki museum of prehistoric man
             * PICNIC LUNCH
             * Forest stop I, Bairak forest
             * Forest stop II, forest fire site
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: slides available upon request
9:00    Sylvie Barbalat: Dead wood in Central and Western Europe PDF
9:30    Dmitry Schigel: Dead wood as nature and dead wood as culture PDF
10:00  COFFEE
10:15  Book exam
11:45  Feedback form. End of course & goodbyes
12:00  Free time


The intensive five-day course program is comprised by lectures, workshops, excursions, and an obligatory book exam: course announcement at ForBio. 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.

For the book exam, you are supposed to read and to understand the whole book, and to be able to debate and discuss, orally and in writing, the topics covered. You are not expected to reproduce the whole knowledge or to know every footnote by heart, but rather know the essentials of every chapter and the principles of the habitat functioning and the main species groups. At the 1.5h written book exam, there may be an essay, a mindmap, or a similar way to show your knowledge on paper. For most, reading a book thoroughly once, and then browsing before the course should do the trick. Exam is graded pass / fail after the course and course certificates are sent by e-mail. Students who have difficulties to access study literature should contact Dmitry Schigel. It is impossible to complete the course and acquire 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 including bus schedule (in Russian).

Accommodation and food

Teachers will be living in the double and single rooms (see examples here, here and here), students in the dormitory with bunk beds (take a look here and here). Bedclothes and towels are provided.

Meals will be organized starting from lunch on Sunday, 23 June till dinner on Friday, 28 June, or breakfast on Saturday, 29 June, taking into account your dietary limitations provided at registration and departure route. There is a possibility to buy some snacks and drinks in the cafe at the venue. 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. There is a river near the venue, so you might like to take swimsuits.

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.


Own health and travel insurance arrangements are required for all participants and all activities during the course, and it is participants’ own responsibility to make sure that any health or travel related situations are covered.

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
Dmitry Schigel – University of Helsinki

Invited teachers

Elena Bilanenko – Moscow State University
Sylvie Barbalat – WWF Switzerland
Aleksander Ryss – Zoological Institute RAS
Elena Voronina – Moscow State University
Ludmila Kalinina – Botanical Institute RAS
Sergey Volobuev – Botanical Institute RAS


Nina Filippova –  Ugra State University
Ilya Viner – University of Helsinki
Maria Shumskaya – Kean University

Support and administration

Nataliya Budaeva – University of Bergen
Natalia Romashova – Voronezh State Reserve
Elena Starodubceva – Voronezh State Reserve
Igor Vorobyov – Voronezh State Reserve
Aino Hosia – University of Bergen
Hugo de Boer – University of Oslo

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).


Evgeny Antonov Russia Lomonosov Moscow State University, Faculty of Biology, Department of mycology and algology
Aivars Dunskis Latvia Daugavpils University, Institute of Life Sciences and Technology, Department of Biosystematics
Lisa Fagerli Norway University of Life Sciences, Ecology and Natural Resource Management, Insect Ecology
Bendik Ferkingstad Norway Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management
Lea Hoch Norway University of South East Norway
Tor Arne justad Norway university of Oslo. Biology evogene
Liudmila Kalinina Russia Laboratory of Systematics and Geography of Fungi,
Komarov Botanical Institute, Russian Academy of Science
Kseniia Karbysheva Russia Tomsk State University, Biological Institute
Martha Karijord Norway Universitetet i Oslo, master student at Geo-Ecology reseach group
Ilmeini Lasarov Finland University of Eastern Finland, Forestry (Ecology and Pathology )
Artem Leostrin Russia Komarov Botanical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Herbarium of higher plants
Solveig Løken Norway University of Oslo, Natural History Museum, ISOP research group
Dabao Lü Norway University of Oslo, Department of Biosciences, Section for Genetics and Evolutionary Biology, Oslo Mycology Group
Ekaterina Luginina Russia 1/ Professor Zhitkov Russian Research Institute of Game Management and Fur Farming, Ecology and Resources Dept.
2/ Vyatka State Agricultural Academy, Ecology and Zoology Dept.
Adele Markeviciute Lithuania Vilnius University
Dmitry Pereboev Russia Mycology and Algology Department of Biological Faculty of Lomonosov Moscow State University
Nathan Phinney Norway Norwegian University of Life Sciences; Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management; Program of Ecology and Natural Resource Management
Kristina Polyanina Russia Zoological Institute RAS
Yngvild Ransedokken Norway Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management
Veronika Staroverova Russia Lomonosov Moscow State University
Lea-Rebekka Tonjer Norway University of Oslo,

Department of Biosciences,

Section of genetics and evolutionary biology (EVOGENE)
Ross Wetherbee Norway NMBU, MINA


Our main communication media is e-mail.

Emergency phone numbers:

Dmitry Schigel

Natalya Budaeva +7 916 853 19 59
                            +47 40 16 18 24 – also WhatsApp, Telegram

Natalya Romashova +7 903 853 59 01