Simon Peter Hart: Catalogue data in Spring Semester 2019

Name Dr. Simon Peter Hart
Professur für Pflanzenökologie
ETH Zürich, CHN H 68
Universitätstrasse 16
8092 Zürich
DepartmentEnvironmental Systems Science

551-0106-00LFundamentals of Biology IB5 credits5GA. Wutz, S. P. Hart, O. Y. Martin, E. B. Truernit, S. Wielgoss, S. C. Zeeman
AbstractThis course is an introduction into the basic principles of evolution, diversity, animal/plant form and function, and ecology.
ObjectiveIntroduction into aspects of modern biology and fundamental biological concepts.
ContentThe course is divided into distinct chapters
1. Mechanisms of evolution.
2. The evolutionary history of biological diversity (bacteria and archea, protists, plants and animals).
3. Plant form and function (growth and development, nutrient and resource acquisition, reproduction and environmental responses).
4. Animal form and function (nutrition, immune system, hormones, reproduction, nervous system and behaviour).
5. Ecology (population ecology, community ecology, ecosystems and conservation ecology).
Lecture notesNo script
LiteratureThis course is based on the textbook 'Biology' (Campbell, Reece, 9th edition). The structure of the course follows that of the book. It is recommended to purchase the English version.
Prerequisites / NoticePart of the contents of the book need to be learned through independent study.
701-0034-12LIntegrated Practical: Plant Ecology: From Theory to Practice Restricted registration - show details 1.5 credits3PS. P. Hart
AbstractIn this practical class, students investigate how the plant species composition of grasslands depends on management and soil conditions. They learn how to survey the composition of plant communities and how to plan, realise and analyse field experiments. They will understand how the traits of grassland species determine their response to management, and how this knowledge is applied in practice.
ObjectiveStudents will be able to:
- Identify grassland plant species.
- Recognize grassland types from their structure and species composition, and explain how they depend on soil conditions, microclimate and management.
- Describe and explain changes in grassland composition after establishment and implications for grassland use.
- Survey plant species composition and vegetation structure with established methods.
- Carry out a field survey or a field experiment with a correct design; analyse the resulting data.
ContentWir führen Untersuchungen an der ETH Hönggerberg und in der Umgebung durch, um die Funktionsweise und Nutzung von Wiesen (Grünland) zu verstehen.
Wir vergleichen verschieden genutze Gründlandtypen miteinander: wie können wir sie schnell erkennen und ökologisch einordnen?
Für das Praktikum nutzen wir Versuchsflächen die eine unterschiedliche Bodenzusammensetzung aufweisen. Wir führen dort Vegetationsaufnahmen durch und analysieren den Einfluss des Bodens auf die Artzusammensetzungen und deren Verlauf mit der Zeit. Die Daten werden ausgewertet und diskutiert.
Lecture notesHandouts will be supplied in class.
LiteratureSpecialized literature will be available during classes
Prerequisites / NoticeBei den Felduntersuchungen sind gute Kleidung und Schuhe, Sonnen- und Regenschutz, sowie Massnahmen gegen Zeckenkrankheiten notwendig; die TeilnehmerInnen sind hierfür selbst verantwortlich.
701-0243-AALBiology III: Essentials of Ecology
Enrolment ONLY for MSc students with a decree declaring this course unit as an additional admission requirement.

Any other students (e.g. incoming exchange students, doctoral students) CANNOT enrol for this course unit.
3 credits6RS. P. Hart
AbstractThis course assigns reading for students needing further background for understanding ecological processes. Central problems in ecology, including population growth and regulation, the dynamics of species interactions, the influence of spatial structure, the controls over species invasions, and community responses to environmental change will be explored from basic and applied perspectives.
ObjectiveOriginal language Students will understand how ecological processes operate in natural communities. They will appreciate how mathematical theory, field experimentation, and observational studies combine to generate a predictive science of ecological processes.

Upon completing the course, students will be able to:

Understand the factors determining the outcome of species interactions in communities, and how this information informs management.

Apply theoretical knowledge on species interactions to predict the potential outcomes of novel species introductions.

Understanding the role of spatial structure in mediating population dynamics and persistence, species interactions, and patterns of species diversity.

Use population and community models to predict the stability of interactions between predators and prey and between different competitors.

Understand the conceptual basis of predictions concerning how ecological communities will respond to climate change.
ContentReadings from a text book will focus on understanding central processes in community ecology. Topics will include demographic and spatial structure, consumer resource interactions, food webs, competition, invasion, and the maintenance of species diversity. Each of these more conceptual topics will be discussed in concert with their applications to the conservation and management of species and communities in a changing world.
701-0323-00LPlant Ecology3 credits2VJ.  Alexander, S. P. Hart
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
701-0340-00LPractical Course in Environmental Biology7 credits14PC. Vorburger, M. C. Fischer, S. P. Hart, J. Jokela
AbstractThis course aims at developing research skills in environmental biology. Students carry out small research projects in plant ecology, ecological genetics, aquatic ecology and population biology. These projects include field surveys as well as garden and laboratory experiments. Students analyse their data statistically and present the results both orally and in written reports.
ObjectiveStudents learn how to carry out ecological research projects. They obtain a thorough understanding of selected research topics, and they gain practical experience in handling a wide range of organisms in various types of ecosystems.
After the course, successful participants can:
- formulate precise research questions and testable hypotheses
- design and set up experiments
- measure appropriate variables (for the studied organisms and hypotheses)
- analyse data statistically and draw conclusions from statistical outputs
- present their results according to scientific standards in the research field
ContentThe semester starts with an introduction to research questions and hypotheses, experimental design and data analysis.

During the semester, students carry out several small research projects in aquatic ecology, plant ecology and ecological genetics. Projects address specific research questions related to general topics such as:
- resource acquisition
- competition, grazing, predation, parasitism
- population structure (demography, spatial patterns)
- community composition, species diversity
- species differentiation and hybridisation

During the field course (one full week after the semester), students carry out their individual project in population biology. They choose the topic, organism and system they want to study and develop their own research questions. They conduct the entire research project by themselves and present their results orally and in a report.
Prerequisites / NoticeCompulsory attendance. Absences have to be compensated.
Semester tasks: Oral and/or written presentations after different parts of the course.
701-1410-01LQuantitative Approaches to Plant Population and Community Ecology2 credits2VS. P. Hart
AbstractThis course presents leading problems in plant population and community ecology and modern tools to address them. Topics include the nature of species coexistence, the factors regulating the success and spread of plant invasions, and community responses to human impacts. Students are engaged in discussions of primary literature and develop new scientific skills through practical exercises.
ObjectiveStudents will attain deep insight into topics at the cutting edge of plant ecology/evolutionary research, whilst developing specific skills that can later be applied to basic and applied ecological problems.