The programme focuses on animal and plant ecology and also includes aspects of sociobiology and other topics of organismic biology. Further topics include constraints for plant growth and development (biogeography, biodiversity), the interactions of plants and animals with abiotic and biotic environmental factors (e.g. plant-insect, plant-fungus interactions) including the evolutionary adaptations at the physiological and organismic level, aspects of neurogenetics and behaviour as well as the interaction of individuals, social groups and large populations in complex and variable ecosystems. Using tropical biology with its specialties, unique and general principles in ecology are communicated.
Both fundamentals and novel approaches based on molecular biology tools are discussed with respect to organismic biology. The two selected topics are composed of two theory modules as well as a practical course unit each. Further research training is provided in a selected field of interest, and the students are actively involved in ongoing research projects and learn to independently plan and perform both theoretical and experimental work and finally, to summarize and discuss the results obtained in the thesis.
On the background of a bachelor degree in Biology/Life Sciences, the students learn various aspects, principles and experimental approaches in animal and plant ecology with a special focus on tropical ecosystems. With several bioinformatics tools, they become familiar how to use computer based approaches in order to address and resolve problems in these bioscientific fields. The students are enabled to address scientific questions with regard to organismic interactions, ecosystems, biodiversity, environmental protection. They know to approach scientific problems both theoretically and experimentally, and - based on the results obtained - to further develop scientific models and hypotheses.