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Major Ecology & Evolutionary Biology


Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Michael Scherer-Lorenzen, Prof. Dr. Judith Korb

Key challenges in biology are to understand (i) the evolution of organisms, (ii) the interactions among organisms and their environment as well as (iii) the factors contributing to the evolution and maintenance of biodiversity. The area “Ecology and Evolutionary Biology” focuses on these central questions on different taxa (from plants to animals), in a broad array of ecosystems (from aquatic to terrestrial), and at all levels of complexity (from genes via organisms to ecosystems). Joint modules will lay out the foundations of the area in the first two semesters. Students can specialise in different foci: Social evolution: from gene to ecosystem, tropical ecology, behavioural ecology, geobotany and functional biodiversity research,, conservation and limnology (with specialisation on rivers in Freiburg and on lakes in Konstanz). Modules from each of these areas as well as of functional morphology of plants and bionics and from the Faculty ‘Umwelt und Natürliche Ressourcen can be combined freely. The master thesis can deal with topics within these research fields.


Content and structure of the M.Sc. Biology - Major Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

mandatory.png Experimental Design and Statistics 3 ECTS ECTS_en.png
Orientation module “Ecology & Evolutionary Biology” (OM-07)
  • Extended social evolution: multilevel selektion, cooperation & conflict, mutualism/ parasitism, parent-offspring conflict, genomic conflict, communication
  • Ecology of plants, biotic and abiotic site factors and vegetation types, changes of vegetation, forest types
  • Limnology
elective.png Orientation module offered by other Majors
  • Translational Biologie (OM-01), or
  • Genetics & Developmental Biology (OM-02), or
  • Immunobiology (OM-03), or
  • Biochemistry & Microbiology (OM-04), or
  • Neuroscience (OM-05), or
  • Plant sciences (OM-06)
Orientation module offered by other Majors
  • Translational Biologie (OM-01), or
  • Genetics & Developmental Biology (OM-02), or
  • Immunobiology (OM-03), or
  • Biochemistry & Microbiology (OM-04), or
  • Neuroscience (OM-05), or
  • Plant sciences (OM-06), or
  • by agreement: equivalent module(s) from the M.Sc. Environmental Sciences


⇒ Module guide "Orientation Modules"

mandatory.png Ecology (SP1-07)
  • Local vegetation, animal ecology and aquatic ecology
  • Vegetation analysis, zoologic-synecologic course, geobotanical field excursions, biodiversity and ecology, nature conservancy
12 ECTS ECTS_en.png
Field excursion geobotany
  • Field excursion to the alpes or the mediterranean sea (yearly alternating)
Terrestric-ecologic outdoor exercises at lake Neusiedler
  • Ecology and ecophysiology of arthropods and molluscs occurring at lake Neusiedler 
  • Outdoor methods, esp. stocktaking methods
Tropical Ecology: Excursion to he tropics
  • Field experiments in the tropics
Plant ecology and ecosystem functions
  • Field exercise for investigating and capturing different abiotic location factors
  • Ecophysiological outdoor measurement techniques 
  • Determination of nutient concentration in plants and soil samples by means of modern lab equipment
  • Limnologic methods and investigations at lake constance
  • Another of the above listed elective modules A, oder
  • One of the elective modules offered by other Majors, oder
  • Laboratory internship, oder
  • Business internship (company, industry), oder
  • Modules offered by other faculties, oder
  • Modules offered by other universities (abroad)


⇒ Module guide "Major modules I"

⇒ Module guide "Elective modules"

elective.png Experiments in Evolutionary Biology & Functional Ecology
  • Selection of research projects in the areas zoology, geobotany, global chance ecology or limnology
21 ECTS ECTS_en.png
Project.png Project module
  • Preparation for the Master thesis


⇒ Module guide "Major modules II"

Master_en.png Master thesis
  • 6 months research project in one of the groups participating in the Major Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
24 ECTS ECTS_en.png
Master thesis seminar
  • oral presentation of the results of the master thesis




⇐ Plant Sciences M.Sc. Biology Translational Biology ⇒
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