PhD Program in Ecology

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.

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Cengiz Akandil

Linking Economic Growth to Biodiversity Loss in the Arctic.

Cengiz

Preparing a drone flight in the Arctic (© Cengiz Akandil )

Global biodiversity loss is increasing rapidly, with current species extinction rates likely to be 1000 times of the background rates (Pimm et al., 2014). Main drivers of biodiversity loss include land use changes, pollution, invasive alien species, climate change, and over harvesting (IPBES 2019, Dasgupta 2019), which are all predominantly related to the economic activity. IPBES 2019 states that protecting the Earth’s biodiversity will require transformative changes across economic and social factors with one of the key components of this change to be steering away from the current economic growth paradigm to build more a sustainable economic and financial system. The aim of my study is to quantify the link between growth of economic activity and the biodiversity loss by using night lights data as proxy for true economic growth (Henderson et al., 2012).

References:
Dasgupta, P. (2020). Interim Report – The Dasgupta Review: Independent Review on the Economics of Biodiversity - GOV.UK (Issue April). https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/interim-report-the-dasgupta-review-independent-review-on-the-economics-of-biodiversity
Henderson, J. V., Storeygard, A., & Weil, D. N. (2012). Measuring economic growth from outer space. American Economic Review, 102(2), 994–1028. https://doi.org/10.1257/aer.102.2.994
IPBES (2019): Summary for policymakers of the global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. S. Díaz, J. Settele, E. S. Brondízio E.S., H. T. Ngo, M. Guèze, J. Agard, A. Arneth, P. Balvanera, K. A. Brauman, S. H. M. Butchart, K. M. A. Chan, L. A. Garibaldi, K. Ichii, J. Liu, S. M. Subramanian, G. F. Midgley, P. Miloslavich, Z. Molnár, D. Obura, A. Pfaff, S. Polasky, A. Purvis, J. Razzaque, B. Reyers, R. Roy Chowdhury, Y. J. Shin, I. J. Visseren-Hamakers, K. J. Willis, and C. N. Zayas (eds.). IPBES secretariat, Bonn, Germany. 56 pages. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3553579
Pimm, S. L., Jenkins, C. N., Abell, R., Brooks, T. M., Gittleman, J. L., Joppa, L. N., Raven, P. H., Roberts, C. M., & Sexton, J. O. (2014).
The biodiversity of species and their rates of extinction, distribution, and protection. Science, 344(6187). https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1246752

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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.