Search result: Catalogue data in Spring Semester 2021

Environmental Sciences Master Information
Major in Biogeochemistry and Pollutant Dynamics
Biogeochemical Processes
701-1310-00LEnvironmental MicrobiologyW3 credits2VM. H. Schroth, M. Lever
AbstractMicroorganisms catalyze a large number of reactions that are of great importance to terrestrial and aquatic environments. To improve our understanding of the dynamics of a specific environment, it is important to gain a better understanding of microbial structures and their functions under varying environmental conditions.
ObjectiveStudents will learn basic concepts in microbial ecology. Qualitative and quantitative concepts will be presented to assess microbial communities and associated processes in terrestrial and aquatic environments. Microbial diversity in such ecosystems will be illustrated in discussions of selected habitats.
ContentLectures will cover general concepts of environmental microbiology including (i) quantification of microbial processes, (ii) energy fluxes in microbial ecosystems, (iii) application of state-of-the-art microbiological and molecular tools, and (iv) use of isotope methods for identification of microbial structures and functions.
Topics to illustrate the microbial diversity of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems will include (i) interactions between microbes and mineral/metallic solid phases, (ii) microbial carbon and nutrient cycling, (iii) microbial processes involved in the turnover of greenhouse gases, (iv) biofilms and microbial mats, (v) bioremediation, (vi) microorganisms in extreme habitats, and (vii) microbial evolution and astrobiology.
Lecture notesavailable at time of lecture - will be distributed electronically as pdf's
LiteratureBrock Biology of Microorganisms, Madigan M. et al., Pearson, 14th ed., 2015
701-1312-00LAdvanced EcotoxicologyW3 credits2VR. Eggen, E. Janssen, K. Schirmer, A. Tlili
AbstractThis course will take up the principles of environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology from the bachelor courses and deepen the understanding on selected topics. Linkages will be made between i) bioavailability and effects, ii) structures of compounds and modes of toxic action, iii) effects over various biological levels, moderated by environmental factors, iv) chemical and biological assessments
Objective- Understanding the key processes involved in fate, behavior and the bioaccumulation of (mainly) organic contaminants
- Overview on and understanding of mechanisms of toxicity
- linking structures and characteristics of compounds with effects
- processes in hazard assessment and risk assessment
- get insight in integrative approaches in ecotoxicology
ContentUnits 1-3: Fate of contaminants, dynamic interactions with the (a)biotic environment, toxikokinetics
- physico-chemical properties
- partitioning processes in environmental compartments
- partitioning to biota
- bioavailability and bioaccumulation concepts
- partitioning in biota

Units 4-6: Toxicodynamics (effect of contaminants on biota)
- internal concentrations; dose-response concept
- molecular mechanisms of toxic actions - classification
- Exercise: databases and estimation of toxicity

Unit 7-10: Toxic effects: from molecular to ecosystems
- complex mechanisms and feedback loops
- mixtures and multiple stressors
- stress- and adaptive responses
- dynamic exposures
- confounding factors, food web interactions
- Exercise: linking compounds with modes of toxic action

Unit 11: metal ecotoxicology

Unit 12-14: integrative approaches and case studies
- bioassays, -omics, systems ecotoxicology, phenotypic anchoring
- in vivo versus in vitro biotesting
- linking chemical with biological analytics
- bioassay-directed fractionation and identification
- (inter) national case studies and linkage of learned with approaches in practice
Lecture notesMaterial will be in the form of copies of overheads, selected publications and exercise material.
LiteratureR.P. Schwarzenbach, P.M. Gschwend, D.M. Imboden, Environmental Organic Chemistry, third edition, Wiley, 2005

C.J. van Leeuwen, J.L.M. Hermens (Editoren), Risk Assessment of Chemicals: An Introduction, Kluwer, 1995

Principles of ecotoxicology, CH Walker, RM Sibly, SP Hopkin, DB Peakall, fourth edition, CRC Press, 2012
Prerequisites / NoticeRequired:

1. Basics in environmental chemistry

2. Basics in environmental toxicology
701-1314-00LEnvironmental Organic ChemistryW3 credits2VK. McNeill, T. Hofstetter, M. Sander
AbstractThis course is focused on environmental transformation reactions of organic chemical contaminants. An overview of important fate processes of organic pollutants will be given, along with a discussion of the factors that determine pathways and rates of transformation reactions. Special emphasis will be given to redox transformations, photochemical reactions, and enzyme-catalyzed processes.
ObjectiveThe students will
- further their knowledge of important classes of environmentally relevant organic compounds
- become familiar with the tools for studying reaction mechanisms
- learn the fundamentals of environmental photochemistry
- obtain a detailed understanding of redox reactions of pollutants and biogeochemically important species
- get a survey of important enzymatic transformations
- learn to critically evaluate published data
Content- Methods and tools used in the study of reaction mechanisms and kinetics
- Environmental photochemistry, including direct and indirect photolysis
- Redox properties of important environmental phases and redox reactions of organic pollutants
- Enzyme-catalyzed reactions involved in environmentally important enzymatic processes
Lecture notesMaterials that are needed beyond the required text will be distributed in the lecture.
LiteratureSchwarzenbach, R.P., P.M. Gschwend, and D.M. Imboden. Environmental Organic Chemistry. 3rd Ed. Wiley, New York (2016).
Prerequisites / NoticeIntroduction to Environmental Organic Chemistry, Bachelor 5th semester, M. Sander, K. McNeill
701-1317-00LGlobal Biogeochemical Cycles and ClimateW3 credits3GN. Gruber, M. Vogt
AbstractThe human-induced emissions of carbon dioxide has led to atmospheric CO2 concentrations that Earth likely has no’t seen for the last 30 million years. This course aims to investigate and understand the impact of humans on Earth's biogeochemical cycles with a focus on the carbon cycle and its interaction with the physical climate system for the past, the present, and the future.
ObjectiveThis course aims to investigate the nature of the interaction between the carbon cycles on land and in the ocean with climate and how this interaction has evolved over time and will change in the future. Students are expected to participate actively in the course, which includes the critical reading of the pertinent literature.
ContentTopics discussed include: The anthropogenic perturbation of the global carbon cycle and climate. Response of land and oceanic ecosystems to past and future global changes; Interactions between biogeochemical cycles on land and in the ocean; Biogeochemical processes controlling carbon dioxide and oxygen in the ocean and atmosphere on time-scales from a few years to a few hundred thousand years.
Lecture notesSarmiento & Gruber (2006), Ocean Biogeochemical Dynamics, Princeton University Press.
Additional handouts will be provided as needed. see website: Link
LiteratureSarmiento & Gruber (2006), Ocean Biogeochemical Dynamics, Princeton University Press, 526pp.

Original literature.
701-0998-00LEnvironmental and Human Health Risk Assessment of ChemicalsW3 credits2GM. Scheringer, B. Escher
AbstractApplication of methods for chemical risk assessment for human health and the environmental according to European and Swiss regulation; hazard and risk; exposure and effect analysis for different types of chemicals. Estimation of missing chemical properties (QSAR methods); critical evaluation of risk assessment methods, presentation of alternative assessment methods.
ObjectiveThe students are familiar with regulatory approaches to human and environmental risk assessment of chemicals and can perform the main steps of a regulatory risk assessment for an industrial chemical. They are aware of pitfalls and challenges and know about new approaches to risk assessment.
ContentRegulatory methods for environmental risk assessment of chemicals (industrial chemicals, pesticides, pharmaceuticals), European regulation REACH, Swiss regulations, international approaches
- Human vs. environmental risk assessment
- Classification and labelling of chemicals
- PBT assessment (persistence, bioaccumulation, toxicity)
- Exposure analysis: emission patterns, multimedia fate and transport models for quantifying environmental exposure, Long range transport and persistence, predicted and measured exposure concentration for the environment and humans
- Effect analysis: estimation of hazard potential for ecotoxicity and human health, extrapolation methods, classification of chemicals according to modes of toxic action, predictive models (QSAR)
- Risk assessment methods (deterministic vs. probabilistic), risk assessment vs. hazard assessment, risk management
- uncertainty and sensitivity analyses, precautionary principle
- Environmental Quality Assessment (water, sediment, biota), Water Framework Directive)
- New methods in environmental risk assessment: mixtures, temporally and spatially explicit risk assessment
Lecture notesSlides of lectures, lecture notes for selected chapters and additional reading material will be made available via ILIAS. Also templates for the exercises and the report will be made available via ILIAS.
Literature- Van Leeuwen, C.J., Vermeire, T. (Eds.) Risk Assessment of Chemicals: An Introduction. Springer, 2007 (als e-book in der ETH-Bibliothek verfügbar).
- Scheringer, M., Persistence and Spatial Range of Environmental Chemicals. Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, 2002.
Prerequisites / NoticeBlock course: Lecture and accompanying exercise where students conduct a comprehensive risk assessment for one selected chemical each according to the European regulation for industrial chemicals. The risk assessment will be presented in class and has to be compiled in a written technical report (Chemical dossier) that will be graded.

The overall work load is 90 hours with 30 hours contact time (block course) and 60 hours self-study.
701-1342-00LAgriculture and Water QualityW3 credits3GC. H. Stamm, E. Frossard, H. Singer
AbstractLinking scientific basics of different disciplines (agronomy, soil science, aquatic chemistry) with practical questions in the context of real-world problems of diffuse pollution due to agricultural production.
ObjectiveThis course discusses the application of scientific understanding in the context of real-world situations of diffuse pollution caused by agricultural production. It aims at understanding the relevant processes, analysing diffuse pollution and developing mitigation strategies starting from legal requirements regarding water quality.
Content- Diversity of diffuse agrochemical pollution
- Agronomic background on the use of agrochemicals
- Transport of agrochemicals from soils to water bodies
- Development of legal requirements for water quality
- Monitoring strategies in water bodies
- Mitigation strategies
- Relevant spatial and temporal scales
- Exercises including all major topics
- 1 field excursion
Lecture notesHandouts will be provided including reference list for each topic.
Prerequisites / NoticeSome exercises require R (Link) and a laptop during the class.
860-0012-00LCooperation and Conflict Over International Water Resources Restricted registration - show details
Does not take place this semester.
Number of participants limited to 40.
Priority for Science, Technology, and Policy MSc.

This is a research seminar at the Master level. PhD students are also welcome.
W3 credits2SB. Wehrli
AbstractThis seminar focuses on the technical, economic, and political challenges of dealing with water allocation and pollution problems in large international river systems. It examines ways and means through which such challenges are addressed, and when and why international efforts in this respect succeed or fail.
ObjectiveAbility to (1) understand the causes and consequences of water scarcity and water pollution problems in large international river systems; (2) understand ways and means of addressing such water challenges; and (3) analyse when and why international efforts in this respect succeed or fail.
ContentBased on lectures and discussion of scientific papers and reports, students acquire basic knowledge on contentious issues in managing international water resources, on the determinants of cooperation and conflict over international water issues, and on ways and means of mitigating conflict and promoting cooperation. Students will then, in small teams coached by the instructors, carry out research on a case of their choice (i.e. an international river basin where riparian countries are trying to find solutions to water allocation and/or water quality problems associated with a large dam project). They will write a brief paper and present their findings towards the end of the semester.
Lecture notesSlides and reading materials will be distributed electronically.
LiteratureThe UN World Water Development Reports provide a broad overview of the topic: Link
Prerequisites / NoticeThe course is open to Master and PhD students from any area of ETH.

ISTP students who take this course should also register for the course 860-0012-01L - Cooperation and conflict over international water resources; In-depth case study.
860-0015-00LSupply and Responsible Use of Mineral Resources I Restricted registration - show details W3 credits2GB. Wehrli, F. Brugger, K. Dolejs Schlöglova, M. Haupt, C. Karydas
AbstractStudents critically assess the economic, social, political, and environmental implications of extracting and using energy resources, metals, and bulk materials along the mineral resource cycle for society. They explore various decision-making tools that support policies and guidelines pertaining to mineral resources, and gain insight into different perspectives from government, industry, and NGOs.
ObjectiveStudents will be able to:
- Explain basic concepts applied in resource economics, economic geology, extraction, processing and recycling technologies, environmental and health impact assessments, resource governance, and secondary materials.
- Evaluate the policies and guidelines pertaining to mineral resource extraction.
- Examine decision-making tools for mineral resource related projects.
- Engage constructively with key actors from governmental organizations, mining and trading companies, and NGOs, dealing with issues along the mineral resource cycle.
Prerequisites / NoticeBachelor of Science, Architecture or Engineering, and enrolled in a Master's or PhD program at ETH Zurich. Students must be enrolled in this course in order to participate in the case study module course 860-0016-00 Supply and Responsible Use of Mineral Resources II.
Methods and Tools: Lab Courses
701-0230-00LBiogeochemistry of Alpine Habitats Restricted registration - show details
Number of participants limited to 9
W2 credits3PM. H. Schroth, H. Bürgmann
AbstractThis course provides hands-on training in state-of-the-art methods to study microbial structures and biogeochemical processes in diverse Alpine systems. The emphasis is on field-scale measurements of biogeochemical processes, but the course also includes introductory lectures, laboratory experiments/analyses, as well as excursions, and concludes with student presentations of collected data.
ObjectiveCharacterization of microbial structures and quantification of biogeochemical processes in natural Alpine habitats using state-of-the-art molecular, chemical, and physical tools. We will study diverse Alpine habitats including microbial mats, Alpine wetlands, and the famous, permenantly stratified Lake Cadagno. Students will get acquainted with different methods including greenhouse-gas flux measurements, micro sensors, determination of depth profiles, microbiological techniques, etc. The students will also learn to collect samples in aquatic and terrestrial systems.
ContentThe field course is taught at the Alpine Biology Center (CBA) in Val Piora (TI), located at almost 2000 m above sea level next to famous Lake Cadagno.
Lecture notesHandouts will be provided during the course.
LiteratureM.T. Madigan, J.M. Martinko, P.V. Dunlap & J. Parker
"Brock Biology of Microorganisms", Pearson
Prerequisites / NoticeThe course will take place from Sun., 18.07.2021 to Sat., 24.07.2021.The course will be offered/taught jointly with the Aquatic and Isotope Biogeochemistry Group of the Univ. of Basel.

The course fee for students is CHF 400.-, which includes costs for housing, food, and equipment. Payment of the fee is due no later than May 15, 2021. After this date, unpaid course slots will be given to students on the waiting list!

An introductory meeting for this course will take place within the first few weeks of the Spring semester 2021. The date/time of this meeting will be announced by email to enrolled students (and students on the waiting list) by the end of February 2021.
701-1330-00LMolecular Ecotoxicology Restricted registration - show details
Number of participants limited to 18.

Target group: MSc Environmental Sciences.

Students of the target group will be prefered until 16.04.2021
Waiting list will be deleted after 30.04.2021.
W3 credits6PK. Schirmer, K. Groh, C. vom Berg-Maurer
AbstractThis laboratory course enables students to become familiar with state-of-the-art methods and concepts of molecular ecotoxicology. We explore mechanisms of action of chemicals occurring in our freshwaters on fish cells and embryos. The course is organized in theoretical and practical training components, including data evaluation and presentation. Students work both in class and in small groups.
ObjectiveMolecular methods are crucial for shedding light on mechanisms underlying biological structure and function under normal and stress conditions. The aim of this course it to demonstrate the power of these methods but also their limits and to enable students to appreciate them both in theoretical and practical terms.
ContentTraining comprises designing and carrying out of chemical exposure experiments and assessment of disturbances or defense responses in fish cells and embryos, such as impact on viability, sub-lethal developmental effects, growth, and associated gene or protein expression. Applied techniques include cell/embryo culture, microscopy techniques, polymerase chain reaction, video analysis and statistics.
Lecture notesCourse material will be provided in the form of background scripts and method protocols.
LiteratureNo particular recommendation.
Prerequisites / NoticeBasic knowledge in cell and molecular biology as well as ecotoxicology are required.
701-1332-00LAnalysis of Organic Pollutants Restricted registration - show details
Number of participants limited to 12.
W3 credits6PJ. Hollender, K. Arturi, H. Singer
AbstractThis lab course provides an in-depth overview of the various steps that have to be carried out when analyzing qualitatively and quantitatively organic pollutants in environmental matrices such as soil and surface waters.
ObjectiveThis lab course provides an in-depth overview of the various steps that have to be carried out when analyzing qualitatively and quantitatively organic pollutants in environmental matrices such as soil and surface waters. The aims are (i) to get acquainted with the theoretical and practical background required to determine trace organic pollutants in various environmental matrices, and (ii) to get hands-on experience with state of the art methodology and instrumentation used for organic trace analysis.
ContentAll steps including sampling, sample preparation, enrichment, separation, identification and quantification will be carried out using some prominent model pollutants present in natural waters and waste waters. The techniques and instrumentation involved include a.o., solid phase extraction (SPE), gas chromatographic analysis using mass-spectrometric (GC/MS) detection, and liquid chromatography coupled to high resolution mass-spectrometry (LC/HRMS/MS). Evaluation of the analytical data is an important component of the course.
Lecture notesA script will be available.
LiteratureSelected papers will be discussed during the course.
Prerequisites / NoticeThe course builds on the knowledge acquired in the bachelor course “Introduction to Environmental Chemistry/Analytical Chemistry” held in the 5th semester. A script of this course is available.
701-1336-00LCook and Look: Synchroton TechniquesW3 credits6PM. Nachtegaal, C. Borca, M. Janousch
AbstractAtomic-scale structure elucidation of trace metal complexes by synchrotron-based X-ray diffraction, X-ray absorption spectroscopy and X-ray fluorescence. Basics of spectroscopy and diffraction.
ObjectiveTo get a thorough understanding of available state-of-the-art synchrotron-based techniques for the analysis of biogeochemical samples.
To learn the basics of spectroscopic data analysis.
Problem solving strategies and reporting in a scientific format.
ContentThis course will introduce state-of-the art synchrotron (at the Swiss Light Source) based techniques (X-ray diffraction, X-ray absorption spectroscopy and X-ray tomography) for the analysis of trace elements in biogeochemical systems. On the ‘cook’ day, each synchrotron technique will be introduced by a lecture, after which samples will be ‘cooked’ (prepared and mounted in the experimental station). This will be followed by the ‘look’ day where the collected data will be analyzed.
Lecture notesCook and Look course manual will be distributed before the course.
Prerequisites / NoticeThe course language is english. The course will take place at the Swiss Light Source, located at the Paul Scherrer Institut. Students will be housed for several nights in the guest house.
You are required to contact the organizers upon registration, since beamtime and housing has to be reserved well in advance.
Methods and Tools: Modelling Courses
701-0426-00LModelling Aquatic Ecosystems Information Restricted registration - show details
Number of participants limited to 24.
W3 credits2GN. I. Schuwirth, P. Reichert
AbstractKnowledge about processes in aquatic ecosystems will be compiled to mathematical models of such systems. This integration of knowledge stimulates understanding across disciplines and makes it possible to evaluate hypotheses. The participants will be confronted with ecosystem models of increasing complexity und apply them practically based on an implementation in R.
ObjectiveStudents are able to

- describe the most important biological, biochemical, chemical and physical processes in aquatic ecosystems in the form of mathematical models;

- recognise and explain the interaction of processes in aquatic ecosystems and estimate the resulting behaviour of the entire system;

- mathematically describe important sources of stochasticity and uncertainty in model predictions and quantify their influence on model results;

- formulate models of aquatic ecosystems, implement them in a programming environment and use them to address problems in practice.
ContentBasic concepts:
Principles of modelling environmental systems, formulation of mass balance equations, formulation of transformation processes.

Formulation of ecosystems processes:
Physical processes (transport and mixing, sedimentation, gas exchange, detachment and resuspension), chemical processes (chemical equilibria, sorption), biological processes (primary production, respiration, death, consumption, mineralization, nitrification, hydrolysis, bacterial growth, colonization).

Consideration of Stochasticity and Uncertainty
Sources, description, and propagation of stochasticity and uncertainty

Didactic models of aquatic ecosystems:
Lake phytoplankton model, lake phyto- and zooplankton model, two box oxygen and phosphorus lake model, model of biogeochemical cycles in a lake, oxygen and nutrient household model of a river, benthic population model of a river.

Research models of aquatic ecosystems:
Research lake models, research river models.

Exercises implementing and practicing the application of the didactic models using libraries of the program package for statistical computing and graphics R (Link).
Lecture notesManuscript in English
Prerequisites / NoticeEcology: Basic knowledge about structure and function of aquatic ecosystems.
Mathematics: Basics of analysis, differential equations, linear algebra, and probability.
701-1240-00LModelling Environmental Pollutants Restricted registration - show details W3 credits2GM. Scheringer, C. Bogdal
AbstractModeling the emissions, transport, partitioning and transformation/degradation of chemical contaminants in air, water and soil.
ObjectiveThis course is intended for students who are interested in the environmental fate and transport of volatile and semi-volatile organic chemicals and exposure to pollutants in environmental media including air, water, soil and biota. The course focuses on the theory and application of mass-balance models of environmental pollutants. These models are quantitative tools for describing, understanding, and predicting the way pollutants interact with the environment. Important topics include thermodynamic and kinetic descriptions of chemical behavior in environmental systems; mechanisms of chemical degradation in air and other media; novel approaches to modeling chemical fate in a variety of environments, including lakes and rivers, generic regions, and at the global scale, and application of mass balance modeling principles to describe bioaccumulation of pollutants by fish and mammals.
ContentApplication of mass balance principles to chemicals in a system of coupled environmental media. Measurement and estimation of physico-chemical properties that determine the environmental behavior of chemicals. Thermodynamic and kinetic controls on the behavior of pollutants. Modeling environmental persistence, bioaccumulation and long-range transport potential of chemicals, including a review of available empirical data on various degradation processes. Current issues in multimedia contaminant fate modeling and a case study of the student's choice.
Lecture notesMaterial to support the lectures will be distributed during the course.
LiteratureThere is no required text. The following texts are useful for background reading and additional information.
D. Mackay. Multimedia Environmental Models: The Fugacity Approach, 2nd Ed. 2001. CRC Press.
R. P. Schwarzenbach, P. M. Gschwend, D. M. Imboden. Environmental Organic Chemistry. 2nd Ed. 2003, John Wiley & Sons.
M. Scheringer. Persistence and spatial range of environmental chemicals: New ethical and scientific concepts for risk assessment. 2002. Wiley-VCH.
701-1338-00LBiogeochemical Modelling of Sediments, Lakes and Oceans Restricted registration - show details
Number of participants limited to 18.

The waiting list will be deleted on 05.03.2021.
W3 credits2GM. Schmid, D. Bouffard, M. Vogt
AbstractIn this course, the students acquire skills to implement, evaluate and analyse the results of basic numerical models for the simulation of biogeochemical processes in aquatic systems using Python, to interpret and document model results, and to critically discuss model limitations. The focus of the course is on practical applications.
ObjectiveThe aim of this course is to encourage and enable students to develop, test and apply basic numerical models for a range of biogeochemical applications, and to interpret model results.
ContentNumerical models are useful tools for the evaluation of processes in complex systems, the interpretion of observational data, and the projection of the response of a system beyond the range of observations. In this course, the students acquire skills to implement and test basic numerical models for the simulation of biogeochemical processes in aquatic systems using Python, to interpret and document model results in written and oral form, and to critically discuss model limitations.
The course includes the following topics:
- Formulation of transport and reaction equations describing aquatic systems
- Numerical recipes (discretization in time and space, finite differences, finite volumes, initial and boundary conditions)
- Implementation of simple models in Python (box models, 1D-models, with applications from sediments, lakes, and oceans)
- Techniques for applied modelling & model testing (sensitivity analysis, parameter estimation)
- Model evaluation against observational data (model evaluation metrics in space and time)
- Interpretation and documentation of model results
- Model applications in current aquatic research (recent examples from the scientific literature)
Lecture notesPresentation slides, exercises, and some background material will be provided.
LiteratureDM Glover, WJ Jenkins, SC Doney, 2011. Modeling Methods for Marine Science, Cambridge University Press
K Soetaert, PMJ Herman, 2009. A Practical Guide to Ecological Modelling, Springer
E Holzbecher, 2012, Environmental Modeling Using MATLAB, 2nd edition, Springer
Prerequisites / NoticeThe students are expected to work with their own laptop where Python should be installed prior to the start of the class. We recommend also installing a development environment such as the Educational Edition of PyCharm or the Anaconda distribution with Spyder.

The following course or equivalent knowledge is required:
Mathematik III: Systemanalyse (701-0071-00L, autumn semester, German)

Basic programming knowledge in Python is required, e.g. the following course:
Anwendungsnahes Programmieren mit Python (252-0840-02L, spring semester, German)

The following course is useful but not required:
Modelling Aquatic Ecosystems (701-0426-00L, spring semester, English)

The number of participants is limited to 18. Selection of the students: order of registration.
Seminar and Semester Paper
701-1302-00LTerm Paper 2: Seminar Restricted registration - show details
Prerequisite: Term Paper 1: Writing (701-1303-00L).

Only for Environmental Sciences MSc and Science, Technology and Policy MSc.
O2 credits1SL. Winkel, M. Ackermann, K. Deiner, N. Gruber, J. Hering, R. Kretzschmar, M. Lever, K. McNeill, D. Mitrano, A. N'Guyen van Chinh, M. H. Schroth, B. Wehrli
AbstractThis class is the 2nd part of a series and participation is conditional on the successful completion of "Term Paper 1: Writing". The results from the term paper written during the previous term are presented to the other students and advisors and discussed with the audience.
ObjectiveThe goal of the term paper seminars is to train the student's ability to communicate (scientific) results to a wider audience and the ability to respond to questions and comments.
ContentEach student presents the results of their term paper to fellow students and advisors and responds to questions and comments from the audience.
Lecture notesGuidelines and supplementary material are distributed on the Moodle platform.
Prerequisites / NoticeThere is no final exam. Grade is assigned based on the quality of the presentation and ensuing discussion.

To obtain the credits, it is mandatory to attend at least 60% of all seminar dates offered in the fall and spring semester. Active participation in discussion and feedback rounds is expected.
701-1303-00LTerm Paper 1: Writing Restricted registration - show details
Only for Environmental Sciences MSc and Science, Technology and Policy MSc.
O5 credits6AL. Winkel, M. Ackermann, K. Deiner, N. Gruber, J. Hering, R. Kretzschmar, M. Lever, K. McNeill, D. Mitrano, A. N'Guyen van Chinh, M. H. Schroth
AbstractThe ability to critically evaluate original (scientific) literature and to summarise the information in a succinct manner is an important skill for any student. This course aims to practice this ability, requiring each student to write a term paper of scientific quality on a topic of relevance for research in the areas of biogeochemistry and pollutant dynamics.
ObjectiveThe goal of the term paper is to train the student's ability to critically evaluate scientific literature and to summarise the findings concisely in a paper addressing a research question.

At the end of the course, students will be able to:
- narrow down a research question.
- identify relevant literature to address the research question.
- concisely summarise and critically evaluate their findings.
- formulate key outstanding questions.
ContentEach student is expected to write a paper with a length of approximately 15-20 pages. The students can choose from a list of topics prepared by the tutors, but the final topic will be determined based on a balance of choice and availability. The students will be guided and advised by their tutors throughout the course.

The paper itself should contain the following elements:
- Motivation and context of the given topic (25%)
- Concise presentation and critical evaluation of the state of the science (50%)
- Identification of open questions and perhaps outline of opportunities for research (25%)

In addition, the accurate use of citations, attribution of ideas, and the judicious use of figures, tables, equations and references are critical components of a successful paper. Specialised knowledge is not expected, nor required; neither is new research.
Lecture notesGuidelines and supplementary material are distributed on the Moodle platform.
LiteratureOriginal scientific literature will be identified based on the chosen topic.
Prerequisites / NoticeThe term paper course is primarily aimed at master students majoring in biogeochemistry & pollutant dynamics and ISTP students with a solid background in natural sciences and a strong interest in biogeochemistry & pollutant dynamics.

Each students submits a term paper that will be reviewed by one fellow student and one faculty. The submission of the term paper and a written review of another student's term paper are a condition for obtaining the credit points.

There is no final exam. Grade is assigned based on the quality of the term paper and the submitted review as well as on the presentation in the following term.

Results from the term paper will be presented to fellow students and involved faculty in the following semester ("Term Paper 2: Seminar").
102-0338-01LWaste Management and Circular EconomyW3 credits2GM. Haupt, U. Baier
AbstractUnderstanding the fundamental concepts of advanced waste management and circular economy and, in more detail, on biological processes for waste treatment. Application of concepts on various waste streams, including household and industrial waste streams. Insights into environmental aspects of different waste treatment technologies and waste economy.
ObjectiveThe purpose of this course is to study the fundamental concepts of waste management in Switzerland and globally and learn about new concepts such as Circular Economy. In-depth knowledge on biological processes for waste treatments should be acquired and applied in case studies. Based on this course, you should be able to understand national waste management strategies and related treatment technologies. Treatment plants and valorization concepts for biomass and organic waste should be understood. Furthermore, future designs of waste treatment processes can be evaluated using basic process understanding and knowledge obtained from the current literature.
ContentNational waste management
Waste as a resource
Circular Economy
Assessment tools for waste management strategies
Plastic recycling
Thermal waste treatment
Emerging technologies
Organic Wastes in Switzerland
Anaerobic Digestion & Biogas
Composting process technologies
Organic Waste Hygiene
Product Quality & Use
Waste Economy and environmental aspects
Lecture notesHandouts
Exercises based on literature
LiteratureDeublein, D. and Steinhauser, A. (2011): Biogas from Waste and Renewable Resources: An Introduction. 2nd Edition, Wiley VCH, Weinheim. --> One of the leading books on the subject of anaerobic digestion and biogas, covering all aspects from biochemical and microbial basics to planning and running of biogas plants as well as different technology concepts and biogas upgrade & utilization. We will be using selected chapters only in this course.

Lohri, C.R., S. Diener, I. Zabaleta, A. Mertenat, and C. Zurbrügg. 2017. Treatment technologies for urban solid biowaste to create value products: a review with focus on low- and middle-income settings. Reviews in Environmental Science and Biotechnology 16(1): 81–130.

Haupt, M., C. Vadenbo, and S. Hellweg. 2017. Do We Have the Right Performance Indicators for the Circular Economy?: Insight into the Swiss Waste Management System. Journal of Industrial Ecology 21(3): 615–627.

Schweizerische Qualitätsrichtlinie 2010 der Branche für Kompost und Gärgut: Link

More information about biowaste treatment in Switzerland (Link) and Europe ( and Link)
Prerequisites / NoticeThere will be complementary exercises going along with some of the lectures, which focus on real life aspects of waste management. Some of the exercises will be solved during lessons whereas others will have to be dealt with as homework.
To pass the course and to achieve credits it is required to pass the examination successfully (Mark 4 or higher). The written examination covers all topics of the course and is based on handouts and on selected literature
651-4004-00LThe Global Carbon Cycle - ReducedW3 credits2GT. I. Eglinton, L. Bröder, R. G. Hilton
AbstractThe carbon cycle connects different reservoirs of C, including life on Earth, atmospheric CO2, and economically important geological reserves of C. Much of this C is in reduced (organic) form, and is composed of complex chemical structures that reflect diverse biological activity, processes and transformations.
ObjectiveA wealth of information is held within the complex organic molecules, both in the context of the contemporary carbon cycle and its links to is other biogeochemical cycles, as well as in relation to Earth's history, the evolution of life and climate on this planet.

In this course we will learn about the role of reduced forms of carbon in the global cycle, how these forms of carbon are produced, move around the planet, and become sequestered in the geological record, and how they can be used to infer biological activity and conditions on this planet in the geologic past. The course encompasses a range of spatial and temporal scales, from molecular to global, and from the contemporary environment to earliest life.
Prerequisites / NoticeThis course is good preparation for the combined Field-Lab Course: "651-4044-02 P Geomicrobiology and Biogeochemistry Field Course" and "651-4044-01 P Geomicrobiology and Biogeochemistry Lab Practical"
651-4056-00LLimnogeologyW3 credits2GN. Dubois, A. Gilli, K. Kremer
AbstractThis course links lakes, their subsurface and their environment. It will be discussed how lake sediments record past environmental changes (e.g. climate, human impact, natural hazards) and how lake sediments can be used to reconstruct these changes. Emphasis is also given on the modern limnologic processes essential in interpreting the fossil record. Field and laboratory work is foreseen.
ObjectiveStudents are able to
- explain and discuss the role of lake sediments as archives of environmental change.
- plan an own limnogeologic campaign, i.e. finding, recovering, analyzing and interpreting the sedimentary lake archive to solve a particular scientific question.
- examine the complexity of a lake system with all its connection to the environment.
- relate subaerial processes with subaquatic processes.
- identify processes around and in lakes causing natural hazards.
ContentContent of the course:
Introduction - Lakes, the small oceans
History of Limnogeology.
Limnogeologic campaigns
The water column: Aquatic physics (currents, waves, oscillations, etc.).
Sediments caught in the water: sediment traps
Geophysical survey methods (multibeam bathymetry, seismics)
Large open perialpine lakes.
Laminations in lake sediments: Clastic vs. biochemical varves.
Hydrologically closed lake systems
Chronostratigraphic dating of lake sediments
Lake sediments as proxies for climate change
Lake sediments as recorder of anthropogenic impact

The class includes 2 lectures as field work on Lake Zurich.
Introduction to themes of Lake Zurich field work.
Limnogeological methods on the lake and in the laboratory: various sampling and surveying techniques (water analysis, seismic surveying, sediment coring, laboratory analyses).
Seismic-to-core correlation and interpretation
Lecture notesWill be distributed in each class unit.
LiteratureWill be distributed in each class unit.
Prerequisites / NoticeCredit points and grade will be given based on a individually written report about the project and a group presentation.
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