Completing a PhD research project in the joint University of Zurich (UZH) and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, PhD Program in Ecology, in one of the internationally acclaimed research groups, enhances a student’s PhD experience. Students of this program are enrolled at either the UZH or the ETH. The program offers research training in the interdisciplinary field of ecology, general skills training for academic and non-academic excellence, and opportunities to interact with other doctoral students. The program includes a curriculum of at least 12 ECTS credits, teaching experience, and is usually completed within three to four years (full-time). It offers yearly graduate schools, courses on subject specific matters and on methods that are of direct use to the work of doctoral students. Additional courses on transferable skills prepare students for professional life, whether this is in an academic institution or not. Research seminars foster international collaborations and the exchange of experiences among doctoral students and experts from different fields of ecology.
Seasonality effects on wildlife populations across different data resolutions
Seasonality effects on wildlife populations © Dilşad Dağtekin
We all know the environment that species live in is affecting their demographic strategies and population responses. We see these effects through resources, disturbances, and inter- and intra-species interactions. Since most natural environments are seasonal, all these things can vary with seasonal cycles, and in turn change the population dynamics. Seasonality effects have been recognized for a long time in the population ecology field, yet not many studies take this into account because they collect data at annual steps which makes environmental parameters look constant within a year. However, not taking seasonality effects into account can cause biased estimation of population parameters. In addition, data collection at different resolutions, such as presence/absence (low resolution) or individual-based data (high resolution), can help researchers answer more detailed questions. With these in mind, in my PhD thesis I am checking seasonality effects on wildlife populations by using data from different species and different resolutions coming from two different systems. These are camera-trap data (presence/absence, low resolution) of 8 large-mammal species from north-western forests of Turkey and live-trapping data (individual-based, high resolution) of gray mouse lemurs (Microcebus murinus) from the Kirindy Forest in Madagascar. I am checking seasonality effects on a span of ecological questions from habitat-use patterns to survival and reproduction by using different population models within a Bayesian framework. By doing so, I am covering a span of species and systems and show that seasonality can affect them differently. I hope that my thesis will contribute to possible conservation actions and future studies for understanding of fundamental mechanism in population dynamics.
Photography for Scientists
Science and science communication rely heavily and extensively on photography. In this course organised by the PhD Program in Ecology, student scientists were taught how to be more "visually literate", empowering them to more effectively communicate their science.
Filmmaking for Scientists
In this course organised by the PhD Program in Ecology, students learnt how to prepare their own documentary films, including how to deal with camera and lighting, screenwriting/storyboard and film editing. At the end of the workshop, the PhD students prepared a short documentary film.