Search result: Catalogue data in Autumn Semester 2021

Agricultural Sciences Master Information
Major in Plant Sciences
Disciplinary Competences
Agronomy and Plant Breeding
NumberTitleTypeECTSHoursLecturers
751-4104-00LAlternative CropsW+2 credits2VA. Walter, K. Berger Büter
AbstractFew crops dominate the crop rotations worldwide. Following the goal of an increased agricultural biodiversity, species such as buckwheat but also medicinal plants might become more important in future. The biology, physiology, stress tolerance and central aspects of the value-added chain of the above-mentioned and of other alternative crops will be depicted.
ObjectiveDuring this course, students learn to assess the potential of different minor or alternative crops compared to the dominant major crops based on their biological and agronomical features. Each student will assess and present a specific alternative crop of his or her choice based on information from scientific articles and Wikipedia. Wikipedia-entries will be generated.
751-3603-00LCurrent Challenges in Plant Breeding Restricted registration - show details
Number of participants limited to 15.
W+2 credits2GB. Studer, A. Hund
AbstractThe seminar 'Current challenges in plant breeding' aims to bring together national and international experts in plant breeding to discuss current activities, latest achievements and future prospective of a selected topic/area in plant breeding.
The topic this year will be: 'Plant Breeding a(nd) Data Science'.
ObjectiveThe educational objectives cover both thematic competences and soft skills:
Thematic competences:
- Deepening of scientific knowledge in plant breeding
- Critical evaluation of current challenges and new concepts in plant breeding
- Promotion of collaboration and Master thesis projects with practical plant breeders
Soft skills:
- Independent literature research to get familiar with the selected topic
- Critical evaluation and consolidation of the acquired knowledge in an interdisciplinary team
- Establishment of a scientific presentation in an interdisciplinary team
- Presentation and discussion of the teamwork outcome
- Establishing contacts and strengthening the network to national and international plant breeders and scientist
ContentInteresting topics related to plant breeding will be selected in close collaboration with the working group for plant breeding of the Swiss Society of Agronomy (SSA).
Lecture notesNone
LiteraturePeer-reviewed research articles, selected according to the topic.
Prerequisites / NoticeParticipation in the BSc course 'Pflanzenzüchtung' is strongly recommended, a completed course in 'Molecular Plant Breeding' is highly advantageous.
751-4704-00LWeed ScienceW+3 credits2GB. Streit, U. J. Haas
AbstractModern weed management comprises competent knowledge of weed biology, weed ecology, population dynamics, crop-weed-interactions and different measures to control weeds. Weeds are understood to be rather part of a habitat or a cropping system than just unwanted plants in crops.
ObjectiveAt the end of the course the students are qualified to develop sustainable solutions for weed problems in agricultural and natural habitats.
ContentModern weed management comprises competent knowledge of weed biology, weed ecology, population dynamics, crop-weed-interactions and different measures to control weeds. Weeds are understood to be rather part of a habitat or a cropping system than just unwanted plants in crops. Accordingly, this knowledge will be imparted during the course and will be required to understand the mechanisms of integrated weed control strategies.
Crop Health
NumberTitleTypeECTSHoursLecturers
751-5121-00LInsect Ecology Restricted registration - show details
The number of participants is limited to 30.
W+2 credits2VC. De Moraes, M. Mescher, N. Stanczyk
AbstractThis is an introductory class on insect ecology. During the course you will learn about insect interactions with, and adaptations to, their environment and other organisms, and the importance of insect roles in our ecosystems. This course includes lectures, small group discussions and outside readings.
ObjectiveThe aim of the course is to gain an understanding of how insects have specialised and adapted to occupy diverse environmental niches and become vital to ecosystem processes. Important topics include: insect-plant interactions, chemical ecology, predator-prey interactions, vectors of disease, social insects, mutual and parasitic interactions and examining insect ecology in an evolutionary context.
Lecture notesProvided to students through Moodle
LiteratureSelected required readings (peer reviewed literature). Optional recommended readings with additional information.
751-4811-00LAlien Organisms in Agriculture Restricted registration - show details
Number of participants limited to 30.
W+2 credits2GJ. Collatz, M. Meissle
AbstractThe course focuses on alien organisms in agriculture as well as the scientific assessment and regulatory management of their effects on the environment and agricultural production.
ObjectiveStudents will understand the consequences arising from the unintentional or deliberate introduction of alien organisms into agricultural systems. They will be able to understand the concept of environmental risk assessment and be able to evaluate risk management options.
ContentAlien organisms in agriculture is a topic that receives an increasing awareness among farmers, agricultural scientists, regulators and the general public. Students of this course will learn about the nature of alien organisms such as invasive species, biocontrol organisms and genetically modified organisms. With a particular focus on arthropods, plants and their interactions we will look at the potential threats the novel organisms pose, the benefits they provide and how both of these effects can be scientifically assessed. Students will learn how the topic of alien organisms in agriculture is intrinsically tied to policy making and regulation and get to know current examples and future challenges in research. In the last part of the course students will be able to apply the acquired knowledge in a practical exercise (case study).
Lecture notesMaterial will be distributed during the course
Prerequisites / NoticeA part of the course will take place in flipped classroom mode, i.e. the lectures on 28.9., 5.10., 19.10., 16.11. and 23.11. will be available as podcasts.
701-0263-01LSeminar in Evolutionary Ecology of Infectious Diseases Information W+3 credits2GR. R. Regös, S. Bonhoeffer
AbstractStudents of this course will discuss current topics from the field of infectious disease biology. From a list of publications, each student chooses some themes that he/she is going to explain and discuss with all other participants and under supervision. The actual topics will change from year to year corresponding to the progress and new results occuring in the field.
ObjectiveThis is an advanced course that will require significant student participation.  Students will learn how to evaluate and present scientific literature and trace the development of ideas related to understanding the ecology and evolutionary biology of infectious diseases.
ContentA core set of ~10 classic publications encompassing unifying themes in infectious disease ecology and evolution, such as virulence, resistance, metapopulations, networks, and competition will be presented and discussed.  Pathogens will include bacteria, viruses and fungi.  Hosts will include animals, plants and humans.
Lecture notesPublications and class notes can be downloaded from a web page announced during the lecture.
LiteraturePapers will be assigned and downloaded from a web page announced during the lecture.
751-4506-00LPlant Pathology III Restricted registration - show details
Number of participants limited to 20.
W+2 credits2GM. Maurhofer Bringolf
AbstractIdentification based on host, symptoms and micro-morphology, completed with life cycles and related control measures of the most important fungal diseases and their causal pathogens of annual and perennial crops with agricultural significance.
ObjectiveThe students will learn and train preparation skills for microscopy, aquire knowledge of selected diseases (identification, biology of pathogen, epidemiology and systematics) and understand the corresponding integrated control measures practiced in Swiss agriculture.
ContentOne exercice will be on an e-learning base (with computers) also to prepare the students for the final e-exam.
Lecture notesA script will be used on annual and perennial crops and their most important diseases. It will be updated stepwise
Prerequisites / NoticeThe course will be in German (spec. nomenclature)
CompetenciesCompetencies
Subject-specific CompetenciesConcepts and Theoriesassessed
Techniques and Technologiesassessed
Method-specific CompetenciesAnalytical Competenciesfostered
Problem-solvingfostered
Personal CompetenciesCritical Thinkingfostered
Agriculture and Environment
NumberTitleTypeECTSHoursLecturers
751-5101-00LBiogeochemistry and Sustainable Management Information
Does not take place this semester.
W+2 credits2GW. Eugster, V. Klaus
AbstractThis course focuses on the interactions between ecology, biogeochemistry and management of agro- and forest ecosystems, thus, coupled human-environmental systems. Students learn how human impacts on ecosystems via management or global change are mainly driven by effects on biogeochemical cycles and thus ecosystem functioning, but also about feedback mechanisms of terrestrial ecosystems.
ObjectiveStudents will analyse and understand the complex and interacting processes of ecology, biogeochemistry and management of agroecosystems, be able to analyze large meteorological and flux data sets, and evaluate the impacts of weather events and management practices, based on real-life data. Moreover, students will be able to coordinate and work successfully in small (interdisciplinary) teams.
ContentAgroecosystems play a major role in all landscapes, either for production purposes, ecological areas or for recreation. The human impact of any management on the environment is mainly driven by effects on biogeochemical cycles. Effects of global change impacts will also act via biogeochemistry at the soil-biosphere-atmosphere-interface. Thus, ecosystem functioning, i.e., the interactions between ecology, biogeochemistry and management of terrestrial systems, is the science topic for this course.

Students will gain profound knowledge about biogeochemical cycles and greenhouse gas fluxes in managed grassland and/or cropland ecosystems. Responses of agroecosystems to the environment, i.e., to climate and weather events, but also to management will be studied. Different meteorological and greenhouse gas flux data will be analysed (using R) and assessed in terms of production, greenhouse gas budgets and carbon sequestration. Thus, students will learn about the complex interactions of a coupled human-environmental system.

Students will work with real-life data from the long-term measurement network Swiss FluxNet. Data from the intensively managed grassland site Chamau will be used to investigate the biosphere-atmosphere exchange of CO2, H2O, N2O and CH4. Functional relationships will be identified, greenhouse gas budgets will be calculated for different time periods and in relation to management over the course of a year.
Lecture notesHandouts will be available on the webpage of the course.
LiteratureWill be discussed in class.
Prerequisites / NoticePrerequisites: Attendance of introductory courses in plant ecophysiology, ecology, and grassland or forest sciences. Knowledge of data analyses in R and statistics. Course will be taught in English.
751-3405-00LChemical Nature of Nutrients and their Availability to Plants: The Case of Phosphorus Restricted registration - show details
Number of participants limited to 15.
Priority will be given to students in Agricultural Sciences
W+4 credits4GE. Frossard, L. P. Schönholzer, M. Wiggenhauser
AbstractThe course discusses the mechanistic relationships between nutrient speciation in fertilizer and nutrient uptake by plants using phosphorus as an example. The course involves theoretical aspects of nutrient cycling, laboratory work, data analysis and presentation, and the use of advanced methods in plant nutrition studies.
ObjectiveAt the end of this course, participants will obtain a mechanistic understanding of why and how the speciation of phosphorus in fertilizer can affect its release to the soil solution and subsequent uptake by plants. Students will be able to use this information for the development of fertilization schemes that maximize the nutrient uptake and fertilizer efficiency of crops or pastures. During the course, participants will become familiar with the use of radioisotopes and nuclear magnetic resonance as approaches to measure nutrient availability and forms, respectively and they will know the limits of these techniques. Students will also have the opportunity to improve their laboratory and communication skills.
Lecture notesDocuments will be distributed during the lecture.
LiteratureDocuments will be distributed during the lecture.
Prerequisites / NoticeThe lecture will take place at the ETH experimental station in Eschikon Lindau. See the location of the station at: Link
We strongly advise students who are planning to be absent for more than one week during the semester NOT to visit this course.
Students must have visited the plant nutrition lectures in the 3rd and 6th semesters and the lecture pedosphere in the 3rd semester of the agricultural study program of the ETH (or bring an equivalent knowledge). This knowledge is indispensable for this 7th semester.
751-5125-00LStable Isotope Ecology of Terrestrial Ecosystems Information Restricted registration - show details
Number of participants limited to 20.
W+2 credits2GR. A. Werner, N. Buchmann, A. Gessler, M. Lehmann
AbstractThis course provides an overview about the applicability of stable isotopes (carbon 13C, nitrogen 15N, oxygen 18O and hydrogen 2H) to process-oriented ecological research. Topics focus on stable isotopes as indicators for the origin of pools and fluxes, partitioning of composite fluxes as well as to trace and integrate processes. In addition, students carry out a small project during lab sessions.
ObjectiveStudents will be familiar with basic and advanced applications of stable isotopes in studies on plants, soils, water and trace gases, know the relevant approaches, concepts and recent results in stable isotope ecology, know how to combine classical and modern techniques to solve ecophysiological or ecological problems, learn to design, carry out and interpret a small IsoProject, practice to search and analyze literature as well as to give an oral presentation.
ContentThe analyses of stable isotopes often provide insights into ecophysiological and ecological processes that otherwise would not be available with classical methods only. Stable isotopes proved useful to determine origin of pools and fluxes in ecosystems, to partition composite fluxes and to integrate processes spatially and temporally.

This course will provide an introduction to the applicability of stable isotopes to ecological research questions. Topics will focus on carbon (13C), nitrogen (15N), oxygen (18O) and hydrogen (2H) at natural isotope abundance and tracer levels. Lectures will be supplemented by intensive laboratory sessions, short presentations by students and computer exercises.
Lecture notesHandouts will be available on the webpage of the course.
LiteratureWill be discussed in class.
Prerequisites / NoticeThis course is based on fundamental knowledge about plant ecophysiology, soil science, and ecology in general. Course will be taught in English.
Methodology Competences
Seminar in Plant Sciences
NumberTitleTypeECTSHoursLecturers
751-5115-00LCurrent Aspects of Nutrient Cycle in Agro-Ecosystems
Does not take place this semester.
W+2 credits1SE. Frossard
AbstractThe seminar concerns current aspects and research related to nutrient cycles in agro-ecosystems. The theme of the next seminar is “Integrated Nutrient Management to maximize nutrient use efficiency in productive agricultural systems: Insights from long-term field experiments”.
ObjectiveAnalyze publications on long-term field experiments regarding their content on integrated nutrient management; link this information, write it up in a report and present the results in an oral presentation; work in a group; ask questions and contribute to the discussion following the oral presentations; link the information to answer overarching questions and recommendations; expand the knowledge on nutrient cycles and nutrient management in the agro-ecosystem; learn about the importance of long-term field experiment to answer questions on the sustainability of agricultural systems.
ContentThe seminar concerns current aspects and research related to nutrient cycles in agro-ecosystems. The theme of the next seminar is “Integrated Nutrient Management to maximize nutrient use efficiency in productive agricultural systems: Insights from long-term field experiments”. The students will analyze and connect the results published for selected field experiments in a group work. They will present their analysis in a report and in an oral presentation. The seminar is composed by presentations of experts and of the students. The presentations will be synthesized during a final discussion.
751-4003-01LCurrent Topics in Grassland Sciences (HS) Information W+2 credits2SA. K. Gilgen
AbstractResearch results in agro- and forest ecosystem sciences will be presented by experienced researchers as well as Ph.D. and graduate students. Citation classics as well as recent research results will be discussed. Topics will range from plant ecophysiology, biodiversity and biogeochemistry to management aspects in agro- and forest ecosystems.
ObjectiveStudents will be able to understand and evaluate experimental design and data interpretation of on-going studies, be able to critically analyze published research results, practice to present and discuss results in the public, and gain a broad knowledge of recent research and current topics in agro- and forest ecosystem sciences.
ContentResearch results in agro- and forest ecosystem sciences will be presented by experienced researchers as well as Ph.D. and graduate students. Citation classics as well as recent research results will be discussed. Topics will range from plant ecophysiology, biodiversity and biogeochemistry to management aspects in agro- and forest ecosystems.
Lecture notesnone
Prerequisites / NoticePrerequisites: Basic knowledge of plant ecophysiology, terrestrial ecology and management of agro- and forest ecosystems. Course will be taught in English.
Design, Analysis and Communication of Science
NumberTitleTypeECTSHoursLecturers
751-3801-00LExperimental Design and Applied Statistics in Agroecosystem ScienceO3 credits2GA. Hund, W. Eugster, C. Grieder, R. Kölliker
AbstractDifferent experimental designs will be discussed and various statistical tools will be applied to research questions in agroecosystem sciences. Statistical methods range from simple analysis of variance to mixed-models and multivariate statistics. Surveys and manipulative field and laboratory experiments are addressed and students learn to analyse data using a hands-on approach.
ObjectiveStudents will know various statistical analyses and their application to science problems in their study area as well as a wide range of experimental design options used in environmental and agricultural sciences. They will practice to use statistical software packages (R), understand pros and cons of various designs and statistics, and be able to statistically evaluate their own results as well as those of published studies.
ContentThe course program uses a learning-by-doing approach ("hands-on minds-on"). The topics are introduced as short lectures, but most of the work is done on the computer using different packages of R – a software for statistical computing and graphics. In addition to contact hours exercises must be finalized and handed in for grading. The credit points will be given based on successful assessments of selected exercises.

The tentative schedule contains the following topics:
Introduction to experimental design and applied statistics in R
Data handling and data exploration with tidyverse
Designs of field and growth chamber experiments theory
Design creation with DiGGer
Fitting linear mixed-effects models with lme4
Marginal means estimation and post-hoc tests with emmeans
Nonlinear regression fits
Statistical learning techniques
Principle component analysis, canonical correpondence analysis (CCA), cluster analysis
Random forest

This course does not provide the mathematical background that students are expected to bring along when signing up to this course. Alternatively, students can consider some aspects of this course as a first exposure to solutions in experimental design and applied statistics and then deepen their understanding in follow-up statistical courses.
Lecture notesHandouts will be available (in English)
LiteratureA selection of suggested additional literature, especially for German speaking students will be presented in the introductory lecture.
Prerequisites / NoticeThis course is based on the course Mathematik IV: Statistik, passed in the 2nd year and the Bachelor's course "Wissenschaftliche Datenauswertung und Datenpräsentation" (751-0441-00L)
CompetenciesCompetencies
Subject-specific CompetenciesConcepts and Theoriesassessed
Techniques and Technologiesassessed
Method-specific CompetenciesAnalytical Competenciesassessed
Media and Digital Technologiesassessed
Problem-solvingassessed
751-5201-10LTropical Cropping Systems, Soils and Livelihoods Restricted registration - show details
This course has been restructured due to Covid-19 restrictions, part I (2 CP) takes place in Autumn 2021, part II (3 CP) in Spring 2022, with an excursion/fieldwork. For more information, please contact the lecturer: Link
W+2 credits2GJ. Six, K. Benabderrazik
AbstractThis course guides students in analyzing and comprehending tropical agroecosystems. Students gain theoretical knowledge of field methods, diagnostic tools for tropical soils and agroecosystems. Various experts will present their projects and perspectives on various subjects from Food security, Resilience to Soil physics.
ObjectivePart 1
(1) Overview of the major land use systems in Tropical agroecosystems in several contexts Africa
(2) Interdisciplinary analysis of agricultural production systems
(3) Knowledge on methods to assess Food and energy security in tropical agroecosystems

Part 2
(4) Hands-on training on the use of field methods, diagnostic tools and survey methods.
(5) Gain practical knowledge on how to assess Food and Energy Security
(6) Collaboration in international students and stakeholders
ContentPart 1 (Fall semester 2021)
This course guides students in analyzing and comprehending tropical agroecosystems. Students gain theoretical knowledge of field methods, diagnostic tools for tropical soils and agroecosystems. Various experts will present their projects and perspectives on various subjects from Food security, resilience to soil physics or agricultural economics. Students will engage in readings, discussions and exchanges on the specificities of tropical agriculture.

Part 2 (Spring 2022)
On the second module, students gain practical knowledge on field - An integral part of the course is the two-week field project in a Tropical region, meeting several stakeholders of the agricultural and food systems and conducting various assessments related to Food and Energy Security.
Prerequisites / NoticeStudents can only join Part 2 if Part 1 was taken and validated first.
A selection of 20 students for the Part 2 will be done on the basis of several elements. We would require the students enrolled to the class to send a short cover letter (1-page max.) by September 28th 2021, justifying your motivation to enroll to this class.
CompetenciesCompetencies
Subject-specific CompetenciesConcepts and Theoriesassessed
Techniques and Technologiesassessed
Social CompetenciesCommunicationassessed
Cooperation and Teamworkassessed
Self-presentation and Social Influence assessed
Sensitivity to Diversityassessed
Personal CompetenciesAdaptability and Flexibilityassessed
Critical Thinkingassessed
Self-awareness and Self-reflection assessed
Self-direction and Self-management assessed
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