The Department is specialised in three areas, research, teaching, and the organisation of parties and other social events.
Our research is concerned mostly with ecological and evolutionary problems. We use plants, fungi and animals as model systems and combine genomics, population genetics, modelling, ecological, physiological and behavioural studies to investigate species distribution and the evolution and consequences of intra- and interspecific interactions.
Our department has a long track record of excellence in research. It has 11 professors and 5 independent group leaders in the field of ecology, evolutionary biology, behaviour, population genetics, bioinformatics and genomics. The Department is currently home to >30 post-docs and >50 PhD students from many different countries and more than half of these are externally funded by Swiss and European research grants. Members of the Department regularly publish in top ranking journals including Nature, Science and PNAS, as well as the top journals in ecology and evolutionary biology. Several members are on the editorial board of the following journals: Global Ecology & Biogeography, American Naturalist, Animal Behaviour, Behavioural Ecology, Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, Ecology Letters, Evolution, Heredity, Journal of Ecology, Journal of Evolutionary Biology, Molecular Ecology and PlosBiology.
The Department is committed in providing a diverse and first class teaching curriculum to our undergraduate and PhD students. Our contribution to the first and second year of the bachelor in Biology includes classes in Botany, Behavioural Ecology, Conservation Biology, Ecology, Evolution, Biostatistics, Experimental design, Bioinformatics, Population Genetics and Zoology. In the third year of bachelor, we provide courses in Population Biology and Experimental Design as well as many optional courses. Finally, we propose a Master program in Behaviour, Evolution, Conservation.
Our third area of specialisation consists in having weekly parties and numerous other social events. We realised that mutualism and cooperation lie at the heart of the ecological success of many organisms on earth and therefore make use of this important observation to enhance productivity and happiness. Collaborations between the different research groups is a Department priority, with two weekly seminars and numerous journal clubs taking place. All the resources and infrastructures are shared between research groups, providing a stimulating and nice atmosphere to students and all other members of the Department.
Finally, we also realised that an important part of life is reproduction. The Department has thus given birth by asexual reproduction to the Laboratory for Conservation Biology which main aim is to conduct applied research. We have also engaged into sexual reproduction with the Universities of Bern, Fribourg, Geneva, and Neuchâtel to establish a doctoral school in Ecology and Evolution.