Evolutionary Ecology and Environmental Analysis

Prof. Dr. Henner Hollert, Hollert@bio.uni-frankfurt.deTel +49 69 798 42171

PD Dr. Werner Brack (UFZ und GU), werner.brack@ufz.de

Dr. Sarah Johann johann@bio.uni-frankfurt.de,  Tel +49 69 798 42169 

Dr. Sarah Crawford, carwford@bio.uni-frankfurt.de, Tel +49 69 798 42169

Module information

In the lecture, special knowledge of limnoecology is imparted, including multiple environmental stressors and evolutionary ecology. In the second part of the lecture, methodological aspects of the chemical analysis of environmental contaminants (target and non-target analysis) and modern methods of mixture assessment are considered. Finally, in the seminar, the students prepare very recent research papers on the lecture topics and present in the group. In a subsequent discussion, the contents are thus deepened and critically considered from different perspectives.

The practical course complements and deepens the contents on stress ecology, evolutionary ecology and environmental analysis taught in the theoretical part of the module. As a special unique selling point, the practical course has the interdisciplinary processing of research questions on case studies. The focus is on the practical application of limnological and aquatic ecology studies combined with modern laboratory procedures in stress ecology and evolutionary ecology (e.g. molecular work). Thematically, the practical course focuses on investigating multiple stressors, reflecting the challenges of our modern times in climate change. The fact that the assessment of the state of an ecosystem is determined by the interaction of a chemical with ecological stressors ( e.g. warming, salinisation and acidification) is becoming increasingly important. The multiple stressors are investigated in the practical course both in the field and in the laboratory using important ecological or ecotoxicological proxy organisms and selected pollutants of anthropogenic origin.

Furthermore, methods for the chemical analysis of environmental contamination, the assessment of mixture toxicities and the search for the drivers of toxicity are taught. The additional part of the practical course on media competence offers a special supplement. In this, the students are introduced to an often underestimated but at the same time enormously important aspect of science communication using the examples on multiple stressors selected in the practical course. The internship includes fieldwork within walking distance of the Biologicum and a field trip of several days to the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Leipzig and various locations (Holtemme, Bitterfeld, dams in the Harz Mountains).

The competence objectives of the practical course include the evaluation of the physical and ecological functioning of flowing waters and the role of aquatic ecology in the context of multiple environmental stressors and evolutionary ecology. In addition, practical laboratory work is deepened, and course participants become familiar with modern chemical analysis procedures and evaluation methods. Experiments to investigate multiple stressors in the aquatic representative organisms Danio rerio and Daphnia magna are planned in a team, and hypothesis-driven questions are formulated. Independent work on these and practical implementation prepares the students for final theses and further careers in science. After the course, the students can communicate subject- and addressee-related in speech and writing, also using techniques such as visualisation, presentation and moderation.

Time slot of the module – second half of the summer semester.

Number of participants – 12 to 16.

Special features - The module can be conducted entirely or partly in English in consultation with the students. Parts of the module are conducted in the field and outside Frankfurt.

Homepage of the working group

Group of Henner Hollert


Department of PD Dr. Werner Brack:

Video clips on the MSc course in SS 2020 (Teaching in the times of the Covid-19 pandemic):