Field studies in the Gemdental

Course program MEES

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Field studies in the Gemdental
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The Master Evolution, Ecology and Systematics comprises a total of 120 credit points according to the European Credits Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS); the prescribed period of study is 2 years. All courses take place in English unless otherwise stated in the module catalog.

The modules of the first academic year are designed to bring together previously acquired knowledge and the preparation for independent project works as well as to learn the development and presentation of scientific results. The first year of study comprises five multidisciplinary compulsory modules amounting to 30 credits.

Furthermore, within the first three semesters, required elective modules of in the total 30 credits have to be elected. These required elective modules listed below can be freely combined; for a feasable selection, the module responsible lecturers are happy to help. According to the interdisciplinary character of our Master, many of the modules are jointly offered by several institutes.

In addition to these modules, it is possible to combine individual courses from the module catalog of the MEES or courses of other study programs to wildcard modules of 5 LP each. Wildcard modules may also include interdisciplinary modules (for example from other study programs) or modules from stays abroad.

Further details about the modules can be found in the current study documents (curriculum, module catalog, study regulations).

Overview Course Program MEES Overview Course Program MEES

Compulsory modules

C1 - Basics in Evolutionary Research (5 CP) Show content

The module aims at a common understanding of evolutionary theory and evolutionary ecology and deepens the relevant knowledge. It deals with Darwinian evolution, synthetic evolutionary theory and other evolutionary theories. The social meaning of the theory of evolution is also treated. The seminar in the summer semester deals with current evolutionary biological questions based on original papers from the subject areas of the study program.

Overview module C1 - Basics in Evolutionary Research Overview module C1 - Basics in Evolutionary Research
C2 - Ecology and Diversity (5 CP) Show content

The module provides an overview of the ecology and diversity of habitats and populations and addresses aspects of integrative biodiversity research. The lectures will focus on the emergence and ecology of habitats and their biodiversity, with particular emphasis on land use and climate change. We will address fundamental biogeographic aspects, and the dynamics of populations and the interaction between species in ecological networks. In the seminar, small-scale projects will explore how microorganisms and macroorganisms and their interactions, through chemical signals and complex networks, can contribute to important functions of ecosystems while providing important services to humans. The importance of ecology and the preservation of its diversity for society is also highlighted.

Overview module C2 - Ecology and Diversity Overview module C2 - Ecology and Diversity
C3 - Species Identification (10 CP) Show content

In this interdisciplinary module we teach advanced knowledge and skills for the identification of native plants and animals. Taxonomic methods and background knowledge are deepened in the field and in the laboratory.

Overview module C3 - Species Identification Overview module C3 - Species Identification
C4 - Experimental Design and Analysis of Biological Data (5 CP) Show content

The module introduces the experimental design as well as various univariate and multivariate statistical methods. The lecture teaches the basics of scientific work from finding a worthwhile research question to the publication through manuscripts, lectures, or posters. In the exercises with the statistical program R, the presented statistical methods are learned using sample datasets from botany, zoology, ecology, and biodiversity research. It covers the areas of descriptive statistics including visualizations, simple tests, the basics of statistical modelling (linear models, generalized linear models, mixed models, structural equation models), as well as ordinations and cluster analyses. The focus of this module is on practical exercises with intensive instructions during the classroom hours.

Overview module C4 - Experimental Design and Analysis of Biological Data Overview module C4 - Experimental Design and Analysis of Biological Data
C5 - Excursion EES (5 CP) Show content

Based on the excursion, the students should get to know examples of environmental aspects of an unknown habitat. Depending on the field of the excursion, aspects of biodiversity (zoological and / or botanical), the ecology of the visited ecosystems and their species composition or their evolutionary history may be the focus. Depending on the excursion destination, the excursion will take place in the winter or summer semester.

Overview module C5 - Excursion EES Overview module C5 - Excursion EES

Required elective modules

E1 - Comparative Evolutionary Developmental Biology (10 CP) Show content

The lectures focus on the regulatory mechanisms of development at the molecular level, gene regulation and gene regulatory networks. In the seminar, selected topics in comparative and evolutionary developmental biology are discussed. The lab course introduces methods commonly used in comparative and evolutionary developmental biology.

Module overview E1 - Comparative Evolutionary Developmental Biology Module overview E1 - Comparative Evolutionary Developmental Biology
E2 - Evolution of Insects (5 CP) Show content

In this module, we teach the morphology, phylogeny and evolution of Hexapoda on a higher level. Recent developments in insect phylogenetics are a main topic but more applied aspects (forensic entomology) are also treated in a seminar (students can choose between two seminars with a different focus). Methods and results of phylogenetic investigations based on morphological or molecular are discussed in the lecture and the phylogenetic seminar.

Overview module E2 - Evolution of Insects Overview module E2 - Evolution of Insects
E3 - Morphology (5 CP) Show content

The interdisciplinary module provides basic insights into the current application areas of morphological research on animals and plants in industry and technology (keyword: bionics), medicine, environmental protection, architecture and design. The practical focus is the teaching of modern techniques and methods for the development of the 3rd and 4th dimension (3D reconstruction of forms in motion, digital microscopy, cLSM, creation of 3D models on the basis of histological series and Micro-CT data, Geometric Morphometry). Project work entails selected topics.

Overview module E3 - Morphology Overview module E3 - Morphology
E4 - Human History (10 CP) Show content

For anatomically modern humans, the understanding of morphological, molecular and cultural evolution should be deepened and extended. The module is multidisciplinary, from morphology and physiology to molecular and microbiology and socio-cultural science topics.

Overview module E4 - Human History Overview module E4 - Human History
E5 - Paleobiology of Vertebrates (10 CP) Show content

The module extends the knowledge of morphology, evolution and paleobiology of vertebrates. Practical and theoretical, the exercises provide in-depth knowledge of key events in the vertebrate evolution (such as shore leave, emergence of flight) and highlight key anagenetic changes in structures and functions at selected focal points. Original fossils of early tetrapods are also used. The Quaternary Paleontology courses give special insights into the research activities of the Senckenberg Research Station for Quaternary Paleontology in Weimar, with a focus on large mammal fauna in key regions of Eurasia and North America.

Overview module E5 - Paleobiology of Vertebrates Overview module E5 - Paleobiology of Vertebrates
E6 History of Evolutionary Biology (5 CP) Show content

The seminar "Discovery of Evolution" provides an overview of the history of ideas in evolutionary biology by means of secondary literature. The seminar "Classics of Evolution" critically discusses the most important advances in theory formation in the 19th and 20th century with the help of original papers.

Overview module E6  History of Evolutionary Biology Overview module E6 History of Evolutionary Biology
E7 - Collections in Biodiversity Research (5 CP) Show content

The interdisciplinary module teaches the basics of biological collection work. This includes not only the collection itself, but also the long-term preservation and safe storage of objects and the data belonging to them.

Overview module E7 - Collections in Biodiversity Research Overview module E7 - Collections in Biodiversity Research
E8 - Plant Microevolution and Population Genetics (5 CP) Show content

The module deals with microevolution und population genetics in plants. The lecture focuses on speciation and related population genetic aspects. Hybridization, adaptive radiation and impact of evolutionary processes on populations and species, like e.g. isolation and spread of mutations will be treated in more detail.

In the practical part, the most important, predominantly molecular methods applied in micro-evolutionary research will be studied. There will be exercises on calculation and interpretation of population genetic parameters.

Overview module E8 - Plant Microevolution and Population Genetics Overview module E8 - Plant Microevolution and Population Genetics
E9 - Plant Phylogeny / Phylogenetics (5 CP) Show content

The module presents an overview of the phylogeny of plants and an introduction to paleobotany. The exercise offers training in actual analytical methods in plant phylogenetics, e.g. treatment of characters, construction and evaluation of phylogenyetic trees.

Overview module E9 - Plant Phylogeny / Phylogenetics Overview module E9 - Plant Phylogeny / Phylogenetics
E10 - Evolution and Diversity of Cryptogams (5 CP) Show content

The lecture presents the systematic groups of cryptogams in detail. Phylogenetic relationships will be treated as well as their life cycles, and morphological characteristics. Furthermore, life and adaptations of algae, lichens, mosses, lycopods, and fern plants to their respective habitats are illuminated. Particular attention is paid to the ecological importance of cryptogams and their role as indicator organisms. During the internship, selected representatives will be determined by the participants on their own and in small excursion typical representatives of different habitats will be presented.

Overview module E10 - Evolution and Diversity of Cryptogams Overview module E10 - Evolution and Diversity of Cryptogams
E11 - Applied Vegetation Ecology (5 CP) Show content

The module focusses on various aspects of applied vegetation ecology. In the seminar we discuss current research approaches in vegetation ecology with special emphasis on the use of functional trait data. During the field course we will collect and analyse data on plant species composition and diversity from important vegetation types varying in their hemeroby levels.

This module takes place every second year alternating with E13, start in WiSe of odd years.

Overview module E11 - Applied Vegetation Ecology Overview module E11 - Applied Vegetation Ecology
E12 - Crop Plants (5 CP) Show content

The lecture introduces food crops, stimulating, medicinal, and aromatic plants. In particular, occurrence, cultivation, biology, morphology / anatomy and their relevance are treated. Furthermore, current aspects of the production of plant foods and stimulants are processed. During the practical course, selected plants and their products will be presented. Also planned are excursions to companies that produce or process herbal products.

Overview module E12 - Crop Plants Overview module E12 - Crop Plants
E13 - Functional Biodiversity Research (5 CP) Show content

The students learn (i) to identify an (own) scientific problem in the context of functional biodiversity research, (ii) to plan an experiment using appropriate scientific methods and experimental design, (iii) to carry out the experiment and (iv) to evaluate it with the help of modern statistical methods. The seminar provides the foundations for experimental biodiversity research and introduces the basics of experimental design. Experimental design and evaluation options are discussed using examples from the literature. The acquired knowledge is used in the (supervised) planning of the own mini-projects during the exercise. The project will be carried out in the field along gradients (e.g., elevation gradients in the Alps), including field work, statistical analyses and poster presentation (in groups). During all stages of the course, the collected data will be evaluated and the procedure critically questioned and discussed.

This module takes place every second year alternating with E11, start in WiSe of even years.

Overview module E13 - Functional Biodiversity Research Overview module E13 - Functional Biodiversity Research
E14 - Project Module Habitat Description and Nature Conservation (5 CP) Show content

Students will screen and analyze the biotic inventory of selected natural habitats in project teams. Different groups of organisms will be included and actual techniques of species inventories will be applied.
Local characteristics are to be worked out and contrasted with typical elements of the habitat. The results are scientifically processed and presented in a way that is understandable to the public.

Overview module E14 - Project Module Habitat Description and Nature Conservation Overview module E14 - Project Module Habitat Description and Nature Conservation
E15 - Ecological Concepts 1: Current Fields of Ecological Research (5 CP) Show content

The module covers the basic conceptual frameworks of ecology with a focus on critical reading and independent assessment of original literature. In particular, the module emphasises the essential difference between textbook knowledge and original research papers, and rehearses the composition of conclusive scientific argumentation. The mayor work load of the module comprises autonomous information search, self-study of literature and preparation of the seminar presentation. Another focus is on personal presentation skills. The lecture gives an overview over current ecological research in Jena and shall support the choice of a research group for the master's thesis.

Overveiw module E15 - Ecological Concepts 1: Current Fields of Ecological Research Overveiw module E15 - Ecological Concepts 1: Current Fields of Ecological Research
E16 - Ecological Concepts 2: History of Ecological Ideas (5 CP) Show content

The module contemplates the historical development of ecology as a discipline of natural sciences and the emergence of its conceptual foundations with a focus on critical reading and independent assessment of original literature. The mayor work load of the module comprises self-study of literature and preparation of the seminar presentations.

Overview module E16 - Ecological Concepts 2: History of Ecological Ideas Overview module E16 - Ecological Concepts 2: History of Ecological Ideas
E17 - Evolutionary and Population Genetics (5 CP) Show content

Evolution is based on changes in heritable traits either by natural selection or by genetic drift. The module covers the mechanisms of the evolutionary changes in populations over time. This includes an introduction to quantitative genetics, basis principles of population genetics and modern genomic tools for studying evolution. The array of topics ranges from the quantification of natural selection and heritabilites in natural populations via the genetic basis of local adaptation and maintenance of genetic diversity to speciation genetics and genomics.

Overview module E17 - Evolutionary and Population Genetics Overview module E17 - Evolutionary and Population Genetics
E18 - Behavioural Ecology (5 CP) Show content

The module engrosses the scientific branch of behavioural ecology and its strong link to evolutionary ecology. The focus is on methodological aspects and the application of theoretical modelling for ESS analyses. Evolutionary mechanisms of selected topics are elaborated in the seminar. The exercise provides a practical insight into game theory modelling.

Overview module E18 - Behavioural Ecology Overview module E18 - Behavioural Ecology
E19 - Theoretical Ecology (5 CP) Show content

This module provides the theoretical foundations in the field of ecology by introducing the most important models. In the practical training, the theoretical concepts are studied in more detail in numerical simulations and simple analytical solutions of models.

Overview module E19 - Theoretical Ecology Overview module E19 - Theoretical Ecology
E20 - Ecological Networks (5 CP) Show content

This module provides the theoretical foundations of the modelling of complex ecological networks. In the practical training, the theoretical concepts are studied in computer simulations of simple examples.

Overview module E20 - Ecological Networks Overview module E20 - Ecological Networks
E21 - Biodiversity Metastudies (5 CP) Show content

This module introduces the methods and concepts of metastudies. The lecture introduces important metastudies in the field of biodiversity research with consideration of statistical methods. In the practical training, published data are gathered, organized in a data base and analyzed by the statistical methods introduced in the lecture. Subsequently, the results of this metastudy carried out by the students are presented and discussed concerning their relation to theoretical concepts in biodiversity research.

This module takes place every second year, start in SoSe of odd years.

Overview module E21 - Biodiversity Metastudies Overview module E21 - Biodiversity Metastudies
E22 - Biodiversity Science-Policy interface (5 CP) Show content

The module provides an overview of current aspects of biodiversity policy as well as opportunities and challenges at the science-policy interface (including opportunities for professional career development). A special feature of the module, in addition to English as a continuous module language, is the interactive discussion with experts from the field (for example, authorities, associations / NGOs). The course covers aspects of participatory knowledge transfer and science communication as well as the innovative approach of citizen science.

Overview module E22 - Biodiversity Science-Policy interface Overview module E22 - Biodiversity Science-Policy interface
E23 - Molecular and Chemical Interaction Ecology (5 CP) Show content

This module focuses on the principles and approaches in modern day molecular (genomic) and chemical (metabolomic) ecology. We will also discuss relevant conceptual frameworks, ecological theories pertaining to current ecological biodiversity research.

Overview module E23 - Molecular and Chemical Interaction Ecology Overview module E23 - Molecular and Chemical Interaction Ecology
E24 - Micobial Ecology (5 CP) Show content

Die mikrobielle Ökologie beschäftigt sich mit dem Nachweis, der Identifizierung und der Funktion von Mikroorganismen in der Umwelt. Neben der Frage, welche Organismen in einem bestimmten Habitat vorkommen und wie sie interagieren, sind vor allem deren biologische Eigenschaften von Bedeutung, die bestimmen, welche Rolle sie in Stoffkreisläufen haben und wie sie an Umweltbedingungen angepasst sind. Eine Reihe neuer molekularer Methoden und in situ Aktivitätsmessungen erlauben jetzt eine Beziehung zwischen phylogenetischer und funktioneller Diversität herzustellen.

Overview module E24 - Micobial Ecology Overview module E24 - Micobial Ecology
E25 - Science Communication (5 CP) Show content

An important aspect of science is the communication of scientific insights. Efficient communication is therefore and important skill for all scientists. In the highly interactive classes of this module, we will reflect upon and train scientific communication. The module will also cover the peer-review process that central to quality control in science and will address modern approaches to open and transparent science. The focus of the module is on communication within a scientific environment, but many aspects will be applicable to other fields that require concise and efficient communication.

Overview module E25 - Science Communication Overview module E25 - Science Communication
Wild card modules | Interdisciplinary modules Show content

Wild card modules

Upon application to the Office for Student Affairs and Examinations and in consultation with one or more lectures (then in function as module coordinator), it is possible to compile up to two wild card modules with five credit points each from individual courses [pdf, 79 kb] de according to one's own wishes. The form of the module examination must also be specified in consultation with the module coordinator. Any individual course can be chosen from the list below, the unattended modules of the Masters in Evolution, Ecology and Systematics or any other (preferably biological or geoscientific) degree program.

Interdisciplinary modules

Modules from other study programmes will be accepted upon application to the Office for Student Affairs and Examinations and in consultation with one or more lectures of the Masters in Evolution, Ecology and Systematics, in particular if they strengthen the interdisciplinary character of the degree program. Examples can be found here [pdf, 75 kb] de, but modules from all other (preferably biological or geoscientific) degree programs are also possible.

Recognition of foreign exam results Show content

Stays abroad as part of the Masters Evolution, Ecology and Systematics are possible and desirable. In order to facilitate the recognition of academic achievements, a learning agreement on the program to be completed should be concluded with the responsible university lecturer for the degree program prior to the stay abroad, which is deposited in the study and examination office.

Master thesis

The MEES is completed by the two theses modules (together 60 LP). The module T1 - project module EES contains the practical work of the master thesis (data acquisition). This can already be started in the first academic year in the summer semester (with field work connected to the vegetation period), and the degree is then completed in the fourth semester with the master's thesis (Module T2 - Master thesis).

In addition to the offers of topics for the master thesis by the three participating institutes, theses can also be externally written e.g. at one of the non-university research institutions in Jena, in Germany or abroad.

T1 - Project Module EES Show content

As part of the practical course, the active participation in a working group of the institutes participating in the Master's program takes place. This enables the preparation and data acquisition for the Master's thesis. In independent studying, the preparation for the integrating final exam takes place. The content of the exam is the overview of the research subject of the master's thesis in a biological context.

Overview module T1 - Project Module EES Overview module T1 - Project Module EES
T2 - Master Thesis EES Show content

The module comprises the evaluation of the data set for the master's thesis, the literature search and all other work that serves to prepare the master's thesis. The work is essentially done as an independent study.

Overview module T2 - Master Thesis EES Overview module T2 - Master Thesis EES

Formal Notes for the Master Thesis

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Hinweise zur Masterarbeit - Formal Notes for the Master Thesis
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