Geosciences, Ecology and Environment specialisation


Specific training objectives

At the end of the course the students will be able to:

  • Solve complex ecological problems through quantitative and modelling approaches, using complementary knowledge acquired in geosciences and environmental sciences.

  • Have an integrated view of natural systems and conduct interdisciplinary research projects in ecology / environment.

  • Transfer scientific knowledge and skills acquired to applied problems in the field of ecology, environment and conservation.


The Faculty of Geosciences and Environment, to which A. Guisan is also affiliated, kindly contributes to this specialisation by making some of their existing courses and teachers available.

Objectives and Content

Ecology is the integrated study of organisms in their biotope, and thus requires knowledge on the physical environment, which is also often required in evolutionary biology studies. It also requires insights from evolutionary biology, which is ultimately responsible for the biodiversity and ecosystem patterns we observe today. The GEE specialization allows biology students to gather a complementary training in geo- and environmental sciences resulting in a synthetic view of ecosystems sensu lato (i.e. including the geographic and abiotic components) that can then be used in fundamental or applied studies in ecology and evolution.


Students will learn how to answer questions such as: How are ecosystems distributed and how did they evolved? How do communities and ecosystems assemble, function and what service do they provide to us? What drives the distribution of species, communities and ecosystems in these landscapes? For instance, what is the respective importance of environmental conditions, dispersal, and biotic interactions? How is species (meta-)population dynamics and population genetics influencing these?   What are key environmental variables in these respects (e.g. climate, soil, geology, hydrology, etc) and how do these distribute and interact in the landscape? What are key drivers of landscape evolution and environmental changes (e.g. climate and landuse changes, invasions, erosion, etc)?


Answering these ecological questions require a mix of field studies, a combination of genetics, genomics and metagenomics, and quantitative methods including statistical analyses and modelling and more dynamic modelling approaches. It also requires a well-grounded background of theoretical ecology, biogeography, and ecosystems and environmental sciences, and good knowledge as well of evolutionary theories.


A main aim and challenge of the GEE specialization is to providing biology students following this program with the theoretical and methodological skills, and associated way of thinking, to conduct advanced studies in ecology, with possible applications to solve applied problems.


In the GEE program, the students will acquire the following kmowledge and skills:

  • modeling populational processes;

  • a good theoretical basis in various ecological and geo-environmental sciences

  • additional training in field methods for ecology and environmental sciences

  • training in quantitative methods, including statistical analyses and modelling, geographical information science and remote sensing (e.g. satellite images, drones)

© V. Di Cola/E. Giaccone/A. Guisan

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In charge of the GEE specialisation
Biophore office 4302
Tel. +41 21 692 42 54

Geopolis office 3114
Tel. +41 21 692 36 15


Descriptive Flyer
GEE Specialisation



CH-1015 Lausanne
Tel. +41 21 692 40 10
Fax +41 21 692 40 05