Research

Paleoecology

Current MSc-Projects Within the Paleoecology Section

We currently have a large number of possible scientific research projects for MSc students in the fields of Climate Sciences or Ecology and Evolution. Within the framework of the master thesis, the students will work independently on a project and acquire new skills and concepts in palaeoecology with the help of their supervisor. Our goal is to publish the MSc thesis in an international scientific journal and thus to provide MSc students with important experiences for a future scientific or professional career. We are also very open to suggestions for your own palaeoecological research project. If you have any questions about these projects, please do not hesitate to contact the persons mentioned in the project description.

Projects

Holocene vegetation dynamics of Mediterranean ecosystems – Sardinia
Holocene vegetation dynamics of Mediterranean ecosystems – Sardinia © Tiziana Pedrotta
Lago di Monte Soro, a small pond at 1795 m a.s.l. in the oro-mediterranean vegetation belt of Sicily.
Holocene vegetation dynamics of Mediterranean ecosystems – Sicily © Christoph Schwörer
The Euganean Hills in Northern Italy
Using a dynamic vegetation model to simulate tree refugia during the last Ice Age in Northern Italy © Moritz Gubler
Warmer temperatures and drier summers
Simulating future climate change impacts on forests in the Canton of Bern © Christoph Schwörer
Our UWITEC coring platform on Lake Kastoria, a potential study site for a future MSc-project in Northern Greece.
Neolithization processes and vegetation dynamics in Northern Greece © Sandra Brügger
Pine forests in the Central Iberian range
Pine dynamics on the Iberian Peninsula © César Morales del Molino
Lago di Mergozzo is a lake at the lower end of the Ossola Valley. The basin was connected to the Lago di Maggiore in historical times but was cut off by delta aggradation from the Toce river. A recent paleoecological coring campaign allowed us to date the separation of the lake to ca. 1300 AD.
Holocene vegetation dynamics in the Ossola valley, Northern Italy © Katarzyna Marcisz
Lauenensee, an iconic lake in the Bernese Alps at 1380 m a.s.l. A recent MSc thesis provided clear evidence that agricultural activity since the late Neolithic (ca. 5700 cal. BP) caused significant change in the species composition of subalpine forests in the area (Rey et al., 2013).
Treeline dynamics in the Alps © Christoph Schwörer
Sulsseewli, a small lake in the Bernese Alps just below the treeline (1921 m a.s.l.). The lake has recently been cored by our group for a joint project with the University of Tromsø to reconstruct past vegetation changes using environmental DNA. The lake would also be an ideal study site to look at intraspecific changes in genetic diversity through time using aDNA.
Tracking Holocene population dynamics of trees in the Alps using ancient DNA (aDNA) © PvB
Coring Lake Lyman in Southern Ukraine close to the Black Sea coast
Vegetation dynamics in the Ukrainian steppe © Christoph Schwörer