Search result: Catalogue data in Spring Semester 2019

Biology Master Information
Elective Major Subject Areas
Elective Major: Ecology and Evolution
Compulsory Concept Courses
701-0323-00LPlant EcologyO3 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
Elective Compulsory Master Courses
701-0310-00LConservation Biology Information W2 credits2GF. Knaus
AbstractIn this course, the students explore ecological approaches, philosophical foundations, and practical implementations of conservation activities. Based on case studies, they are introduced to different views, values and ideals inherent in these activities.
ObjectiveStudents of this course are able to:
- understand the historical development and the current state of biodiversity and estimate possible future trends
- explain the economic legal, political and philosophical foundations of conservation activities
- define different possibilities of how conservation can be implemented in practice
- identify and critically appraise normative elements in conservation
- analyse and evaluate a nature conservation project from conception to successful completion.
ContentThe course covers the following content:
- Describe and analyse the past, current and future human impacts on biodiversity.
- Explore alternative approaches to nature conservation and their implementation for example species or habitat protection, restorations, parks, etc.
- Discuss the ethical, moral, legal, and economic reasons for conservation.
- Understand the main theories relevant to conservation such as the vulnerability of small populations, ecosystem services, biodiversity, etc.
- Explore practical examples during excursions and provide an analysis and evaluation of concrete case studies.
Lecture notesKein Skript
LiteratureKüster H. 1999: Geschichte der Landschaft in Mitteleuropa. Von der Eiszeit bis zur Gegenwart. Beck, München, Germany. 424p.
Piechocki R. 2010: Landschaft, Heimat, Wildnis. Schutz der Natur - aber welcher und warum? Beck'sche Reihe, Beck, München, Germany. 266p.
Primack R.B. 2008: A primer of Conservation Biology. Fourth Edition. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland MA, USA. 349p.
Prerequisites / NoticeKenntnisse aus den folgenden LV sind vorausgesetzt:
- Allgemeine Biologie I
- Allgemeine Biologie II
- Biologie III: Ökologie
- Biologie IV: Diversität der Pflanzen und Tiere
701-1450-00LConservation GeneticsW3 credits4GR. Holderegger, M. C. Fischer, F. Gugerli
AbstractThe course deals with knowledge in conservation genetics and its practical applications. It introduces the genetic theories of conservation genetics, such as inbreeding depression in small populations or fragmentation. The course also shows how genetic methods are used in conservation Management, and it critically discusses the benefits and limits of conservation genetics.
ObjectiveGenetic and evolutionary argumentation is an important feature of conservation biology. The course equips students with knowledge on conservation genetics and its applications in conservation management. The course introduces the main theories of conservation genetics and shows how genetic methods are used in conservation Management, and it critically discusses the benefits and limits of conservation genetics. Practical examples from animals and plants are presented.
ContentThere are 4 hours of lectures, presentations and group works per week. Students also have to spend about 3 hours per week on preparatory work for the following week. Every week, one subject will be presented by one of three lecturers.

Overview of themes:
Barcoding, eDNA and genetic monitoring; effects of small population size: genetic drift and inbreeding; neutral and adaptive genetic diversity; hybridization; gene flow, fragmentation and connectivity.

Specific topics:
(1) Species and individual identification: barcoding; eDNA; population size estimation; habitat use and genetic monitoring.
(2) Small population size; bottlenecks; genetic drift; inbreeding and inbreeding depression; effective population size.
(3) Adaptive genetic diversity; neutral and adaptive genetic variation; importance of adaptive genetic diversity; methods to measure adaptive genetic variation.
(4) Hybridization; gene introgression; gene flow across species boundaries.
(5) Half day excursion: practical example of conservation genetics on fragmentation.
(6) Discussion and evaluation of excursion; historical and contemporary gene flow and dispersal; fragmentation and connectivity.
(7) Written examination.
Lecture notesNo script; handouts and material for downloading will be provided.
LiteratureThere is no textbook for this course, but the following books are (partly) recommended:
Allendorf F.W., Luikart G.; Aitken S.N. 2013. Conservation and the Genetics of Populations, 2nd edition. Wiley, Oxford.
Frankham R., Ballou J.D., Briscoe D.A. 2010. Introduction to Conservation Genetics, 2nd edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Targeted to practitioners in conservation management is the following book in German:
Holderegger R., Segelbacher G. (eds.). 2016. Naturschutzgenetik. Ein Handbuch für die Praxis. Haupt, Bern.
Prerequisites / NoticeRequirements:
Students must have a good background in genetics as well as in ecology and evolution. The courses "Population and Quantitative Genetics" or "Evolutionary Genetics" should have been attended.

A final written examination on the content of the course and an excursion are integral parts of the course.

Teaching forms:
The course needs the active participation of students. It consists of lectures, group works, presentations, discussions, readings and a half-day excursion.
701-1424-00LGuarda-Workshop in Evolutionary Biology Information
This course has limited spaces. To register for this course you have to sign in via mystudies and via the website of the University of Basel
W3 credits4PS. Bonhoeffer
AbstractThis one week course is intended for students with a keen interest in evolutionary biology. The aim of the course is to develop a research project in small teams of 4-5 students. The students receive guidance by the "faculty" consisting of Prof. D. Ebert (U Basel) and Prof. S Bonhoeffer (ETHZ). Additionally two internationally reknown experts are invited every year.
Objectivesee link
Contentsee link
Lecture notesnone
Prerequisites / NoticeAs the number of participants is limited, application for the course is necessary. Please apply for the course using the course website (see link
551-0216-00LField Course in Mycology Restricted registration - show details
Number of participants limited to 8.
W3 credits3.5PA. Leuchtmann
AbstractField excursions with collecting of fungi, and study of collections in the course room. Main focus are small fungi (ascomycetes): you will receive insight into the diversity of fungi and an introduction to species identification. Furthermore, the ecology and function of fungi in selected habitats will be discussed, and selected examples of edible and poisonous mushrooms shown.
ObjectiveExtended knowledge in taxonomy and systematics of fungi, in particular Ascomycetes. Participants know about ecological functions of fungi as mutualists, saprobes or parasites of plants in various ecosystems.
ContentEinführung ins Reich der Pilze, Merkmale der Pilze und Überblick über deren systematische Gliederung. Exkursionen zum Sammeln von Ascomyceten in ausgewählten Lebensräumen. Kennenlernen von notwendigen Sammel- und Präparationstechniken, Einführung in die Ökologie und Funktion der Pilze, Untersuchung und Bestimmen von Pilzen mit optischen Hilfsmitteln im Kursraum, Einblick in Formenvielfalt ausgewählter Pilzgruppen (Ascomyecten), Beispiele von Gift- und Speisepilzen.
Lecture notesKursunterlagen werden abgegeben
LiteratureSpezialliteratur für die Bestimmung der Familien, Gattungen und Arten der mitteleuropäischen Mykoflora.
Prerequisites / NoticeDer Kurs ist auf maximal 8 Teilnehmende beschränkt. Schriftliche Anmeldung erforderlich. Das Kursgeld von Fr. 180.- muss von den Kursteilnehmern übernommen werden. Vor dem Kurs (Freitag 23. Aug. 2019) findet eine halbtägige Einführung in Zürich statt, deren Besuch ist obligatorisch.
751-4802-00LSystem-Oriented Management of Herbivorous Insects IIW2 credits2GD. Mazzi
AbstractThe focus is on capacity building to judge pest management in the face of economic, ecological and social demands. A wide spectrum of management approaches will be elaborated and discussed, ranging from natural antagonists, natural and synthetic products to physical and genetic tools, as well as innovative research advances.
ObjectiveThe students acquire an understanding of current and potential future methods to manage pest organisms in agro-ecosystems, as well as a sound scientific background to evaluate the options in the face of conflicting requirements from economics, ecology and the society. In addition, they will gain skills to use scientific reports to construct an argument, and to defend their position in a debate.
Lecture notesThe presentations will be made available.
LiteratureRecommendations for further reading are given in the course.
Prerequisites / NoticeThe first part of the course, held in the HS, is not a prerequisite for the understanding of the second part.
751-5110-00LInsects in AgroecosystemsW2 credits2VC. De Moraes, M. Fenske, D. Lucas Gomes Marques Barbosa
AbstractThis class will focus on insect-plant interactions in agroecosystems, and how the unique man-made agricultural community effects insect populations leading to pest outbreaks. Key concepts in pest prediction and management will be discussed from an ecological perspective.
ObjectiveAt the end of this course, students will understand what biotic and abiotic factors contribute to pest outbreaks, why some modern pest management techniques have failed over time, and the trade-offs associated with the use of different pest control methods. Our approach will allow students to apply their knowledge to a variety of pest management situations. Additionally, students will learn about current research goals in agroecology and how these goals are being addressed by scientists engaged in agricultural research.
ContentThe focus of this course will be on understanding how the ecologies of agricultural systems differ from natural ecosystems, and how these difference affect the population dynamics of insect pests and natural enemies. Each section of the course is centered around a basic ecological, biological or engineering theme such as host shift, physiological time, or sampling techniques. Different management techniques will be discussed, as well as the ecological basis behind why these techniques work and why they sometimes fail. The role of insects in spreading economically important plant diseases will also be discussed. Recent advances in research will also be addressed throughout the course and reinforced with periodic readings of primary literature.
Lecture notesProvided to students through ILIAS
LiteratureSelected required readings (peer reviewed literature, selected book chapters).
701-1418-00LModelling Course in Population and Evolutionary Biology Information Restricted registration - show details
Number of participants limited to 20.

Priority is given to MSc Biology and Environmental Sciences students.
W4 credits6PS. Bonhoeffer, V. Müller
AbstractThis course provides a "hands-on" introduction into mathematical/computational modelling of biological processes with particular emphasis on evolutionary and population-biological questions. The models are developed using the Open Source software R.
ObjectiveThe aim of this course is to provide a practical introduction into the modelling of fundamental biological questions. The participants will receive guidance to develop mathematical/computational models in small teams. The participants chose two modules with different levels of difficulty from a list of projects.

The participant shall get a sense of the utility of modelling as a tool to investigate biological problems. The simpler modules are based mostly on examples from the earlier lecture "Ecology and evolution: populations" (script accessible at the course webpage). The advanced modules address topical research questions. Although being based on evolutionary and population biological methods and concepts, these modules also address topics from other areas of biology.
Lecture notesDetailed handouts describing both the modelling and the biological background are available to each module at the course website. In addition, the script of the earlier lecture "Ecology and evolution: populations" can also be downloaded, and contains further backround information.
Prerequisites / NoticeThe course is based on the open source software R. Experience with R is useful but not required for the course. Similarly, the course 701-1708-00L Infectious Disease Dynamics is useful but not required.
701-1452-00LWildlife Conservation and Management
Does not take place this semester.
W2 credits2Gto be announced
AbstractThe course deals with major issues in wildlife conservation and management, the emphasis being on the underlying population processes. Topics include species interactions (predation, herbivory), conservation challenges in a landscape-ecological context, and the social background (values, policies, etc.). The course consists of seminar-type lectures, lab exercises, home reading, and a field trip.
ObjectiveReview major issues in wildlife conservation and management; understand the underlying ecological principles, particularly population processes; link them to principles of landscape ecology; be aware of human aspects and the distinction of scientific questions from questions rooting in society's value system; understand principles of policy formulation; become acquainted with simple modelling procedures; get some experience with field methods and field situations.
ContentThe course deals with major issues in wildlife conservation and management with a focus on temperate regions as far as the topics go, but with a general view on principles. There will be an emphasis on population processes as the basis for management, and on applying this knowledge to problems of declining, small and harvestable populations, and population interactions such as predation, competition and herbivory. Aspects of how society's value system (stakeholder values, beliefs, laws) shape management goals and how valuation and science interact in policy formulation, will also be addressed. Conservation-oriented topics will be illustrated mainly with amphibian and reptile examples.

The course consists of lectures with seminar-type discussion parts, preceded by home reading of pertinent literature, occasional lab exercises (using spreadsheets Excel or Open Office Calc, and SPSS/R), and a two-days field trip.

Provisional program, sequence may change (WS=W. Suter, UH=U. Hofer):

1. Introduction; science & policy (WS)
2. Issues and methods in wildlife research (WS)
3. Population parameters in harvested species (WS)
4. Sustainable harvest (WS)
5. Conservation of vertebrates: Objectives, perspectives (UH)
6. Knowledge of species: Example indigenous reptiles (UH)
7. Evaluation of populations: population size (UH)
8. Evaluation of habitats: habitat use, habitat quality (UH)
9. Evaluation of landscapes: connectivity (UH)
10. Management issue 1: herbivory (WS)
11. Management issue 2: predation (WS)

Field trip:
Possibly 19-20 May, 2017
Provisional program: Day 1: Reptiles in subalpine environments - visit good reptile sites; evening-Day 2: visit to main large predator study area in western Alps, presentations by and discussions of human-large predator conflicts with researchers
Lecture notesThe course will partly be based on 'Mills, L.S. 2013. Conservation of Wildlife Populations. Demography, Genetics, and Management. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. 326 pp.', and several chapters are strongly recommended. The book can be obtained from

Other literature/information will be provided as handouts or is available online.
Literatureother useful books:

Fryxell, J.M., Sinclair, A.R.E. & Caughley, G. 2014. Wildlife Ecology, Conservation, and Management. 3rd edition. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. 528 pp.

Owen-Smith, N. 2007. Introduction to Modeling in Wildlife and Resource Conservation. Malden: Blackwell Publishing. 332 pp.

Conroy, M.J. & Carroll, J.P. 2009. Quantitative Conservation of Vertebrates. Southern Gate: Wiley-Blackwell. 342 pp.
Prerequisites / NoticeThe course builds on the Bachelor course '701-0305-00 G Ökologie der Wirbeltiere', and on subjects taught in courses such as '701-0310-00 G Naturschutz und Stadtbioökologie' and '701-0553-00 G Landschaftsökologie', or similar. Reading Fryxell et al. 2014 (see literature) would also provide an excellent background. Participants in the course are expected to have a fair level of background knowledge.
701-0364-00LFlora, Vegetation and Soils of the Alps Restricted registration - show details W3 credits1V + 2PA. Widmer, R. Kretzschmar
AbstractLecture: Environmental factors and interactions between plants and their environment in the area of the Alps; origin of the flora of the Alps; altitudinal levels and their characteristic vegetations.
Field trip: Sites on different substrate in the subalpine and alpine zones; structure and development of the soils, implications for the plants, characteristic vegetation types and plant species.
ObjectiveFamiliarity with environmental factors and the interactions between plants and their environment in the area of the Alps.
ContentLecture: Environmental factors in the alps; adaptation of plants; patterns of distribution; genesis of the flora of the Alps; altitudinal levels; characteristic vegetation.
Field trip: Sites on different substrate (dolomite, acid and basic silicate, serpentine) in the subalpine and alpine zones; structure and development of the soils, implications for the plants, characteristic vegetation types and species at the respective sites.
Lecture notessee under "Literatur". For the excursion a guide will be available.
LiteratureLandolt E. 2003: Unsere Alpenflora. 7.Aufl., SAC-Verlag.
Prerequisites / NoticeRequirements:
Solid background in systematic botany; successful participation in the course "Systematic Biology: Plants" (Nr. 701-0360-00). It is further recommended that participants have also participated in the block course "Plant Diversity" (Nr. 701-2314-00L), or alternatively the two courses "Plant Diversity: Colline/Montane" (701-0314-00L) and "Plant Diversity: Subalpine/Alpine" (701-0314-01L).

The course consists of the lecture (spring semester, Mo 17-18, CHN G42) and an excursion in July (four days, July 3 to 6, 2019) in the Alps.

The examination includes contents from the lecture and excursion.

Excursion: Travel costs are covered by ETH Zurich. The Biology and Environmental Systems Science Departments contribute to housing costs for the excursion. The remaining costs of 190 Swiss Francs for accommodation, food and the printed excursion booklet are to be covered by the participants.

The excursion takes place in the Alps. Participants therefore must be able and used to walk in steep terrain and have the necessary equipment (most importantly, good hiking shoes). In case of concerns, please contact the responsible person well in advance.

Please note that this course will be taught in German.
701-1708-00LInfectious Disease DynamicsW4 credits2VS. Bonhoeffer, R. D. Kouyos, R. R. Regös, T. Stadler
AbstractThis course introduces into current research on the population biology of infectious diseases. The course discusses the most important mathematical tools and their application to relevant diseases of human, natural or managed populations.
ObjectiveAttendees will learn about:
* the impact of important infectious pathogens and their evolution on human, natural and managed populations
* the population biological impact of interventions such as treatment or vaccination
* the impact of population structure on disease transmission

Attendees will learn how:
* the emergence spread of infectious diseases is described mathematically
* the impact of interventions can be predicted and optimized with mathematical models
* population biological models are parameterized from empirical data
* genetic information can be used to infer the population biology of the infectious disease

The course will focus on how the formal methods ("how") can be used to derive biological insights about the host-pathogen system ("about").
ContentAfter an introduction into the history of infectious diseases and epidemiology the course will discuss basic epidemiological models and the mathematical methods of their analysis. We will then discuss the population dynamical effects of intervention strategies such as vaccination and treatment. In the second part of the course we will introduce into more advanced topics such as the effect of spatial population structure, explicit contact structure, host heterogeneity, and stochasticity. In the final part of the course we will introduce basic concepts of phylogenetic analysis in the context of infectious diseases.
Lecture notesSlides and script of the lecture will be available online.
LiteratureThe course is not based on any of the textbooks below, but they are excellent choices as accompanying material:
* Keeling & Rohani, Modeling Infectious Diseases in Humans and Animals, Princeton Univ Press 2008
* Anderson & May, Infectious Diseases in Humans, Oxford Univ Press 1990
* Murray, Mathematical Biology, Springer 2002/3
* Nowak & May, Virus Dynamics, Oxford Univ Press 2000
* Holmes, The Evolution and Emergence of RNA Viruses, Oxford Univ Press 2009
Prerequisites / NoticeBasic knowledge of population dynamics and population genetics as well as linear algebra and analysis will be an advantage.
701-1410-01LQuantitative Approaches to Plant Population and Community EcologyW2 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.
751-4505-00LPlant Pathology IIW2 credits2GB. McDonald
AbstractPlant Pathology II focuses on disease control in agroecosystems based on biological control, pesticide applications and breeding of resistant crop cultivars. The genetics of pathogen-plant interactions will be explored in detail as a basis for understanding the development of boom-and-bust cycles and methods that may be used to prevent the evolution of pathogen virulence and fungicide resistance.
ObjectiveAn understanding of the how biological control, pesticides and plant breeding can be used to achieve sustainable disease control. An understanding of the genetic basis of pathogen-plant interactions and appropriate methods for using resistance to control diseases in agroecosystems.
ContentPlant Pathology II will focus on disease control in agroecosystems based on biological control, pesticide applications and breeding of resistant crop cultivars. The genetics of pathogen-plant interactions will be explored in detail as a basis for understanding the development of boom-and-bust cycles and methods that may be used to prevent the evolution of pathogen virulence and fungicide resistance.

Lecture Topics and Tentative Schedule

Week 1 Biological control: biofumigation, disease declines, suppressive soils.

Week 2 Biological control: competitive exclusion, hyperparasitism.

Week 3 Chemical control: History of fungicides in Europe, fungicide properties, application methods.

Week 4 Fungicide categories and modes of action, antibiotics, fungicide development, fungicide safety and risk assessment (human health).

Week 5 Resistance to fungicides. Genetics of fungicide resistance, ABC transporters, risk assessment, fitness costs. FRAC risk assessment model vs. population genetic risk assessment model.

Week 6 Genetics of pathogen-plant interaction: genetics of pathogens, genetics of plant resistance, major gene and quantitative resistance, acquired resistance. Flor's GFG hypothesis and the quadratic check, the receptor and elicitor model of GFG, the guard model of GFG.

Week 7 Resistance gene structure and genome distribution, conservation of LRR motifs across eukaryotes. Genetic basis of quantitative resistance. QTLs and QRLs. Connections between MGR and QR. Durability of QR.

Week 8 Genetic resistance: Costs, benefits and risks.

Week 9 Non-host resistance. Types of NHR. NHR in Arabidopsis with powdery mildews. NHR in maize and rice. Avirulence genes and pathogen elicitors. PAMPs, effectors, type-III secretion systems, harpins in bacteria. Fungal avirulence genes.

Week 10 Easter holiday no class.

Week 11 Sechselauten holiday no class.

Week 12 Host-specific toxins. GFG for toxins and connection to apoptosis. Fitness costs of virulence alleles. Diversifying selection in NIP1.

Week 13 Boom and bust cycles for resistance genes and fungicides and coevolutionary processes. Pathogen genetic structure and evolutionary potential. Genetic structure of pathogen populations in agroecosystems, risk assessment for pathogen evolution and breeding strategies for durable resistance.

Week 14 Resistance gene and fungicide deployment strategies for agroecosystems.

Week 15 Genetic engineering approaches to achieve disease resistant crops.
Lecture notesLecture notes will be available for purchase at the cost of reproduction.
LiteratureLecture notes will be available for purchase at the cost of reproduction.
Prerequisites / NoticePlant Pathology I provides a good preparation for Plant Pathology II, but is not a prerequisite for this course.
701-1462-00LEvolution of Social Behavior and Biological Communication Restricted registration - show details
Number of participants limited to 24.
W3 credits2VM. Mescher
AbstractThis course addresses presents core concepts in the study of behavior and biological communication from a Darwinian perspective, with a focus on the evolution of sociality and the emergence of higher-level biological organization. It will entail lectures and discussion of selected readings from relevant primary and secondary literature.
ObjectiveStudents will become familiar with the application of Darwinian evolutionary theory to the study of behavior, communication, and social organization. They will also gain insight into the relevance of these topics for broader intellectual questions in biology, as well as for the organization of human societies.
ContentThis course will begin with an exploration of key concepts, including the central role of information in biology and Darwinian explanations for the emergence of adaptation and functional complexity in biological systems. We will then discuss the application of these concepts to the study of behavior and communication, with a focus on the evolution of social interactions. Significant attention will also be given to the evolution of cooperation among individual organisms and the emergence and maintenance of complex social organization. Finally, we will discuss the implications of the material covered for understanding human behavior and for the organization of human societies, including implications for implementing collective action to address global environmental challenges. These topics will be covered by lectures and discussion of relevant readings selected by the instructor. Evaluations will be based on in-class or take-home examinations, as well as participation in classroom discussions.
701-1426-00LAdvanced Evolutionary GeneticsW3 credits4GT. Städler, P. C. Brunner
AbstractThe field of evolutionary genetics rests on genetic and evolutionary principles, (often) mathematical models, and molecular data. The explosion in the availability of genome-wide data makes competencies in "making sense" of such data more and more relevant. This course will cover selected topics that are both fundamental and/or currently very active research fields.
ObjectiveThis course deals with (some of) the conceptual foundations of evolutionary genetics in the age of genomics, going well beyond the introductory material that is part of the BSc curriculum. The principal aim is for students to gain a thorough appreciation for the underlying ideas and models of key evolutionary processes, and to witness how these are being tested and refined vis-à-vis the recent deluge of genome-wide sequence data. The course focuses on theoretical concepts and ways to infer the action of evolutionary processes from molecular data; as such it is also designed to facilitate understanding of the burgeoning scientific literature in molecular ecology and evolution. These aims require students to be actively engaged in reading original papers, discussing ideas and data among themselves, and presenting their interpretations in group talks.
ContentThere are 4 hours of lectures, student presentations, and/or group work per week. Students are expected to spend 4 additional hours per week on preparatory study for the following week. Every week, one subject will be presented and overseen by one of the two lecturers.

Each weekly topic will be introduced by a lecture (max. 2 x 45 minutes), highlighting key concepts and historically important papers. The (slight) majority of the time will be spent with group presentations based on recent important papers, and discussions of the relevant concepts.

Specific proposed topics (subject to change):
(1) The coalescent in structured populations (e.g. spatial sampling and its genealogical consequences, demographic inference from sequence data, spurious bottlenecks).
(2) Population subdivision: evolutionary processes and measures (e.g. spatial models, absolute and relative measures of divergence, Jost's (2008) fundamental insights and their reception).
(3) Speciation genetics and modes of species divergence (e.g. intrinsic postzygotic barriers, Dobzhansky-Muller incompatibilities, snowball effect, genomic islands of divergence).
(4) The interplay of linkage, recombination, and selection (e.g. selective sweeps, background selection, Hill-Robertson interference, adaptation).
(5) Evolutionary consequences of mating systems (e.g. clonal vs. sexual reproduction, bottlenecks, colonizing potential, efficacy of natural selection).
(6) Genomics of virulence evolution (e.g. pathogenicity islands, mobile genetic elements, chromosomal rearrangements).
Lecture notesNo script; handouts and material for downloading will be provided.
LiteratureThere is no textbook for this course. Relevant literature will be provided for each weekly session, selected mostly from the primary research literature.
Prerequisites / NoticeRequirements:
Students must have a good background in genetics, basic population genetics, as well as evolutionary biology. At a minimum, either the course "Population and Quantitative Genetics" or the course "Ecological Genetics" should have been attended, and ideally, both of these ("Evolutionary Genetics" in the D-BIOL curriculum).

Teaching Forms:
The course consists of lectures, readings, group work, student presentations, and discussions. Active participation and preparation of students is critical for a successful learning experience and outcome.
701-0362-00LSoils and Vegetation of the Alps Restricted registration - show details
Voraussetzungen sind die bestandenen Prüfungen in "Bodenchemie" (701-0533-00L; R. Kretzschmar, D.I. Christl) und "Pedosphäre" (701-0501-00L; R. Kretzschmar). Falls gleichwertige Voraussetzungen (z.B. von anderen Hochschulen) vorliegen, muss eine Teilnahme zuvor mit den Dozenten abgesprochen werden.
W2 credits2PA. Widmer, R. Kretzschmar
AbstractField trip: Knowledge of the interactions between plants and environment (especially climate and soil) in the Alps (demonstrated in the Davos region); sites on different substrate (dolomite, acid and basic silicate, serpentine) in the subalpine and alpine zones; structure and development of the soils, implications for the plants, characteristic vegetation types and species at the respective sites.
ObjectiveKnowledge of the interactions between plants and their environment (especially climate and soil) in the Alps (demonstrated in the Davos region).
ContentField trip in the Davos region: Sites on different substrat (dolomite, acid and basic silicate, serpentine) in the subalpine and alpine zones; structure and development of the soils, implications for the plants, characteristic vegetation types and species at the respective sites.
Lecture notesA guide to the excursion will be made available.
LiteratureLandolt E. 2003: Unsere Alpenflora. 7.Aufl., SAC-Verlag.
Prerequisites / NoticeVoraussetzungen /Besonderes:
Diese Lehrveranstaltung kann nur mit bestandenen Prüfungen in "Bodenchemie" (701-0533-00L; R. Kretzschmar, D.I. Christl) und "Pedosphäre" (701-0501-00L; R. Kretzschmar) belegt werden. Falls gleichwertige Voraussetzungen (z.B. von anderen Hochschulen) vorliegen, muss eine Teilnahme zuvor mit den Dozenten abgesprochen werden. Studierende, die auch die Vorlesung "Flora und Vegetation der Alpen" (701-0364-00V; A. Widmer) belegen, können diese Lehrveranstaltung nicht zusätzlich belegen

Die viertägigen Exkursion in der Region Davos findet statt vom Mittwoch, 3. Juli bis Samstag, 6. Juli 2019. Die Reisekosten werden von der ETH Zürich übernommen; die Departemente Biologie und Umweltsystemwissenschaften leisten einen Beitrag an die Unterkunftskosten; die restlichen Kosten (Unterkunft inkl. Vollpension und Exkursionsführer) von 190 Fr. müssen von den Teilnehmenden übernommen werden.

Die Exkursionen finden in den Bergen statt. Die Teilnehmenden müssen deshalb geländegängig sein, auch in steilem Gelände. Bei Bedenken bitten wir um rechtzeitige Kontaktaufnahme, damit wir die Situation vorgängig analysieren und besprechen können.
Elective Concept Courses
551-0314-00LMicrobiology (Part II)W3 credits2VW.‑D. Hardt, L. Eberl, H.‑M. Fischer, J. Piel, J. Vorholt-Zambelli
AbstractAdvanced lecture class providing a broad overview on bacterial cell structure, genetics, metabolism, symbiosis and pathogenesis.
ObjectiveThis concept class will be based on common concepts and introduce to the enormous diversity among bacteria and archaea. It will cover the current research on bacterial cell structure, genetics, metabolism, symbiosis and pathogenesis.
ContentAdvanced class covering the state of the research in bacterial cell structure, genetics, metabolism, symbiosis and pathogenesis.
Lecture notesUpdated handouts will be provided during the class.
LiteratureCurrent literature references will be provided during the lectures.
Prerequisites / NoticeEnglish
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