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Molecular Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Focus Subject - Molecular Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

You have to choose the theoretical module and one practical module.

TM  Theoretical Modul (12 CP)

Molecular Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Prof. Dr. Jürgen Heinze (responsible)
Prof. Dr. Christoph Oberprieler
Prof. Dr. Christoph Reisch
Prof. Dr. Joachim Ruther
Prof. Dr. Christoph Schubart
Prof. Dr. Erhard Strohm

PM  Practical Modules (12 CP each)

Molecular Ecology and Evolutionary Biology of Social Insects Prof. Dr. Jürgen Heinze
Chemical Ecology Prof. Dr. Joachim Ruther
Molecular Ecology of Insect-Microbe Interactions Prof. Dr. Erhard Strohm,
PD Dr. Gudrun Herzner
Molecular, Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology Prof. Dr. Erhard Strohm,
PD Dr. Gudrun Herzner
Individual and Collective Decision Making in Social Insects Dr. Tomer J. Czaczkes
Aquatic Ecology and Diversity Prof. Dr. Christoph Schubart
Molecular Ecology and Genetics of Nature Conservation (link) Prof. Dr. Christoph Reisch
Evolutionary and Systematic Botany (link) Prof. Dr. Christoph Oberprieler


TM Molecular Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

BIO-M-TM-MEE

Detailed module description - pdf

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Heinze

Module contents
Lectures and seminars covering the foundations of molecular, behavioral and evolutionary ecology and evolutionary biology, such as
  • social evolution, human evolution, and sociobiology (Heinze)
  • chemical ecology (Ruther)
  • evolutionary ecology (Strohm)
Different seminars comprising instructions for presentation techniques, talk design and literature search as well as presentation and discussion of a research based topic in the mentioned fields including
  • epigenetics, senescence, current topics in evolutionary biology (Heinze)
  • chemical cues and signals in interactions between animals /plants and their environment (Ruther)
  • interaction between animals and microorganisms (Strohm)
Module components
  1. at least two lectures in the field of molecular ecology and evolutionary biology (for a selection see LSF)
  2. one seminar in the field of molecular ecology and evolutionary biology (for a selection see LSF)

In the seminar a seminar presentation has to be held and registered in Flexnow as an ungraded study achievement (Studienleistung).

Module examination

30 min oral examination (graded)


PM Molecular Ecology and Evolutionary Biology of Social Insects

BIO-M-PM-MEESI

Detailed module description - pdf

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Heinze (link to research group)

The module can be used for

  • focus subject Molecular Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • focus subject Zoology
Module contents
  • Individually supervised project on various aspects of social evolution
  • Presentation and discussion of own experimental gained data
Module components

Laboratory course (6 weeks) with seminar: Molecular Ecology and Evolutionary Biology of social insects

Module examination

Portfolio examination (graded)


PM Chemical Ecology

BIO-M-PM-CE

Detailed module description - pdf

Prof. Dr. Joachim Ruther (link to research group)

The module can be used for

  • focus subject Molecular Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • focus subject Zoology

For consolidation of the topic, the lecture Chemical Ecology (Ruther) and the seminars of the Chemical Ecology Group are highly recommended.

Module contents
  • realisation of own projects on the communication of insects via chemical cues and signals
  • development of hypotheses and experimental design
  • computer-aided behavioural observations (The Observer XT)
  • isolation and fractionation of natural products
  • identification of behaviour modifying natural products in nanogram amounts by coupled gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS)
  • statistical significance tests for the analysis of the acquired data
  • adequate presentation and discussion of the own data
Module components

Laboratory course (6 weeks) with seminar: Chemical Ecology

Module examination

Portfolio examination (graded)


PM Molecular Ecology of Insect-Microbe Interactions

BIO-M-PM-IMI

Detailed module description - pdf

Prof. Dr. Erhard Strohm, PD Dr. Gudrun Herzner (link to research group)

The module can be used for

  • focus subject Molecular Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • focus subject Zoology
Module contents
  • Interaction of insects with fungi and bacteria as competitors, pathogens or symbionts; for example external and internal immune defence, protection of larval food against microbial degradation
  • Planning of the scientific approach, experimental design
  • Isolation and identification of insect associated microorganisms using microbiological and molecular methods
  • Extraction and isolation of bioactive/antimicrobial compounds
  • Identification of bioactive/antimicrobial compounds by means of gas chromatography/mass spectrometry  (GC/MC)
  • Characterisation of bioactive/antimicrobial compounds using various microbiological assays
  • Statistical analysis of the data
  • Consequences of insect-microbe interactions for survival
  • Scientific essay, oral presentation and discussion of the results
Module components

Laboratory course (6 weeks) with seminar: Molecular Ecology of Insect-Microbe Interactions

Module examination

Portfolio examination (graded)


PM Molecular, Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology

BIO-M-PM-MEBE

Detailed module description - pdf

Prof. Dr. Erhard Strohm, PD Dr. Gudrun Herzner (link to research group)

The module can be used for

  • focus subject Molecular Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • focus subject Zoology
Module contents

Different aspects of evolutionary and behavioural ecology, for example: parental care, sexual selection, communication (e.g. males-females; host-parasite)

  • Planning of scientific approach
  • Design of behavioural observations and experiments
  • GC/MS analyses, interpretation of mass spectra and characterisation of chemical compounds
  • quantitative behavioural assays, video analyses
  • statistical analysis of the data
  • Scientific essay, oral presentation and discussion of the results
Module components

Laboratory course (6 weeks) with seminar: Molecular, Evolutionary and Behavioral Ecology

Module examination

Portfolio examination (graded)


PM Individual and Collective Decision Making in Social Insects

BIO-M-PM-ICDSI

Detailed module description - pdf

Dr. Tomer J. Czaczkes (link to research group)

The module can be used for

  • focus subject Molecular Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • focus subject Zoology
Module contents
  • Experimental design concepts
  • Methods in behavioural ecology (bioassays, behavioural observations, animal handling)
  • Independent data collection
  • data managements basics
  • basic statistical analysis
  • Presentation and discussion of own experimental gained data
Module components

Laboratory course (6 weeks) with seminar: Individual and Collective Decision Making in Social Insects

Module examination

Portfolio examination (graded)


PM Aquatic Ecology and Diversity

BIO-M-PM-AE

Detailed module description - pdf

Prof. Dr. Christoph Schubart (link to research group)

The module can be used for

  • focus subject Molecular Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • focus subject Zoology
Module contents
  • Field work in form of 1-day collecting activities (limnic) or extended excursions (marine)
  • Morphological identification of aquatic invertebrates
  • Tissue extraction and isolation of genomic DNA
  • PCR amplification of selected DNA regions
  • DNA sequencing, alignment and analysis
  • Species identification with molecular barcoding
  • Reconstruction of phylogenetic trees or intraspecific network
  • Quantification of gene flow
  • Presentation and discussion of own experimentally gained data
Module components

Laboratory course (6 weeks) with seminar: Aquatic Ecology

Module examination

Portfolio examination (graded)

  1. Fakultät für Biologie und Vorklinische Medizin
  2. Studium