Search result: Catalogue data in Autumn Semester 2018

Environmental Sciences Bachelor Information
Bachelor Studies (Programme Regulations 2016)
Specialization in an Environmental System
Environmental Biology
The following courses are highly recommended as preparation for the Specialization in Environmental Biology:

227-0399-10L Physiology and Anatomy for Biomedical Engineers I (Autumn semester)
551-0435-00L Systematische Biologie: Zoologie (Autumn semester)
701-0264-01L Ergänzungskurs Systematische Botanik (Spring Semester)
701-0360-00L Systematische Biologie: Pflanzen (Spring semester)
227-0398-10L Physiology and Anatomy for Biomedical Engineers II (Spring semester)

These courses should be successfully completed during the second year.
NumberTitleTypeECTSHoursLecturers
701-0301-00LApplied Systems Ecology Restricted registration - show details
Number of participants limited to 35.
W3 credits2VA. Gessler
AbstractThis course provides the ecological systems` knowledge needed to question applied solutions to current environmental issues. Our central aim is to balance participants' respect for complexity with a sense of possibility by providing examples from the vast solution space offered by ecological systems, such as e.g. green infrastructure to manage water.
ObjectiveAt the end of the course...
...you know how to structure your inquiry and how to proceed the analysis when faced with a complex environmental issue. You can formulate the relevant questions, find answers (supported by discussions, input from the lecturers and the literature), and you are able to present your conclusions clearly and cautiously.
...you understand the complexity of interactions and structures in ecosystems. You know how ecosystem processes, functions and services interact and feed back across multiple spatio-temporal scales (in general, plus in depth case examples).
...you understand that biodiversity and the interaction between organisms are an integral part of ecosystems. You are aware that the link between biodiversity and process/function/service is rarely fully understood. You know how to honestly deal with this lack of understanding and can nevertheless find, critically analyse and communicate solutions.
...you understand the importance of ecosystem services for society.
...you have an overview of the methods of ecosystem research and have a deeper insight into some of them, e.g. ecosystem observation, manipulation and modelling.
...you have reflected on ecology as a young discipline at the heart of significant applied questions.
ContentThis course provides the ecological systems' knowledge needed to question applied sustainability solutions. We will critically assess the complexity of current environmental issues, illustrating basic ecological concepts and principles. Our central aim is to balance participants' respect for complexity with a sense of possibility by providing examples from the vast solution space offered by ecological systems, such as e.g. green infrastructure to manage water.

The course is structured around four larger topical areas: (1) Integrated Water Management -- Green infrastructure (land management options) as an alternative to engineered solutions (e.g. large reservoirs) in flood and drought management; (2) Fire dynamics, the water cycle and biodiversity -- The surprising dynamics of species life cycles and populations in arid landscapes; (3) Rewilding, e.g. re-introducing apex predators (e.g. wolves), or large ungulates (e.g. bisons) in protected areas -- A nature conservation trend with counterintuitive effects; (4) Coupling of aquatic and terrestrial systems: carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus transfers of global importance on landscape scale.
Lecture notesCase descriptions, commented glossary and a list of literature and further resources per case.
LiteratureIt is not essential to borrow/buy the following books. We will continuously provide excerpts and other literature during the course.

Agren GI and Andersson FO (2012) Principles of Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology, Cambridge University Press.

Chapin et al. (2011), Principles of Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology, Springer.

Schulze et al. (2005) Plant Ecology; Springer.
Prerequisites / NoticeThe course combines elements of a classic lecture, group discussions and problem based learning. It is helpful, but not essential to be familiar with the "seven stages" method (see e.g. course 701-0352-00L "Analysis and Assessment of Environmental Sustainability" by Christian Pohl et al.).
701-0320-00LSeminar for Bachelor Students: Environmental Biology Restricted registration - show details W3 credits2SD. Ramseier
AbstractIn the seminar, students explore a specific topic in environmental biology (ecology, evolution, health). They find and read scientific articles, structure contents around core questions, talk to specialists about them, prepare a scientific presentation and lead a discussion. They are introduced to literature search and scientific presentations.
ObjectiveStudents will acquire skills in:
- finding literature in scientific databases
- structuring a scientific topic through research questions
- giving a clear scientific presentation
- contributing constructively to a scientific discussion
ContentWeek 1: Choice of topics and tutors
Week 2 & 3: Literature search
Week 4: course for presentation techniques
Weeks 1 - 7: Meetings with tutors, preparation of presentations
Weeks 8 - 14: Presentations and discussions
Lecture notesWill be handed out during classes
701-0323-00LPlant Ecology
Does not take place this semester.
This lecture will not be offered in autumn semester 2018. It is transfered to spring semester and be offered for the next time in spring semester 2019.
W3 credits2VJ. Levine
AbstractThis class focuses on ecological processes involved with plant life, mechanisms of plant adaptation, plant-animal and plant-soil interactions, plant strategies and implications for the structure and function of plant communities. The discussion of original research examples familiarises students with research questions and methods; they learn to evaluate results and interpretations.
ObjectiveStudents will be able to:
- propose methods to study ecological processes involved with plant life, and how these processes depend on internal and external factors;
- analyse benefits and costs of plant adaptations;
- explain plant strategies with relevant traits and trade-offs;
- explain and predict the assembly of plant communities;
- explain implications of plant strategies for animals, microbes and ecosystem functions;
- evaluate studies in plant ecology regarding research questions, assumptions, methods, as well as the reliability and relevance of results.
ContentPlants represent the matrix of natural communities. The structure and dynamics of plant populations drives the function of ecosystems. This course presents essential processes and plant traits involved with plant life. We focus on research questions that have been of special interest to plant ecologists as well as current topical questions. We use original research examples to discuss how ecological questions are studied and how results are interpreted.
- Growth: what determines the production of a plant?
- Nutrients: consumption or recycling: opposite strategies and feedbacks on soils;
- Clonality: collaboration and division of labour in plants;
- Plasticity: benefits and costs of plant intelligence;
- Flowering and pollination: how expensive is sex?
- Seed types, dispersal, seed banks and germination: strategies and trade-offs in the persistence of plant populations;
- Development and structure of plant populations;
- Stress, disturbance and competition as drivers of different plant strategies;
- Herbivory: plant-animal feedbacks and functioning of grazing ecosystems
- Fire: impacts on plants, vegetation and ecosystems.
- Plant functional types and rules in the assembly of plant communities.
Lecture notesHandouts and further reading will be available electronically at the beginning of the semester.
Prerequisites / NoticePrerequisites
- General knowledge of plant biology
- Basic knowledge of plant sytematics
- General ecological concepts
701-1413-00LPopulation and Quantitative GeneticsW3 credits2VT. Städler, P. C. Brunner
AbstractThis course is an introduction to the rapidly developing fields of population and quantitative genetics, emphasizing the major concepts and ideas over mathematical formalism. An overview is given of how mutation, genetic drift, gene flow, mating systems, and selection affect the genetic structure of populations. Evolutionary processes affecting quantitative and Mendelian characters are discussed.
ObjectiveStudents are able to
- describe types and sources of genetic variation.
- describe fundamental concepts and methods of quantitative genetics.
- use basic mathematical formalism to describe major population genetic concepts.
- discuss the main topics and developments in population and quantitative genetics.
- model population genetic processes using specific computer programs.
ContentPopulation Genetics:
Types and sources of genetic variation; randomly mating populations and the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium; effects of inbreeding; natural selection; random genetic drift and effective population size; gene flow and hierarchical population structure; molecular population genetics: neutral theory of molecular evolution and basics of coalescent theory.

Quantitative Genetics:
Continuous variation; measurement of quant. characters; genes, environments and their interactions; measuring their influence; response to selection; inbreeding and crossbreeding, effects on fitness; Fisher's fundamental theorem.
Lecture notesHandouts
LiteratureHamilton, M.B. 2009. Population Genetics. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, U.K.
Prerequisites / NoticeThere will be 5 optional extra sessions for the population genetics part (following lectures 2-6) for computer simulations, designed to help understand the course material.
701-1413-01LEcological GeneticsW3 credits2VA. Widmer, M. Fischer
AbstractThis course focuses on fundamental concepts and methods in ecological genetics. Topics covered include genetic diversity, natural selection, adaptation, reproductive isolation, hybridization and speciation.
ObjectiveStudents are familiar with fundamental concepts in ecological genetics and with current scientific methods. They can propose strategies to study evolutionary processes in natural populations by combining their knowledge from different disciplines, including population and quantitative genetics, ecology and evolution.
ContentConcepts and methods for the study of genetic diversity, biodiversity, natural selection, adaptation, reproductive isolation, hybridization and speciation.
Lecture notesHandouts will be provided electronically.
Prerequisites / NoticeRecommendation:
We recommend that you also follow the course 701-1413-00L - Population and Quantitative Genetics either in advance or in parallel.
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