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.


Drivers of virus community assembly
Maija Jokinen

maija jokinen fall 2022

Plantago lanceolata population in the Åland Islands, Finland.© Maija Jokinen

Viruses are present in every ecosystem where they have susceptible hosts. In recent years, largely due to advancements in metagenomic studies, there has been a rapid increase in the discovery of novel virus species. This work has revealed the high virus diversity in wild, uncultured environments, and the tremendous complexity of virus communities, even within a single host individual. Despite this, the drivers of virus community assembly are still poorly understood. Studying these mechanisms is key for understanding virus ecology and disease dynamics in natural systems. In my thesis work I use Plantago lanceolata and its associated virus community as my study species, to try to understand how virus coinfection and host genotype affect virus community assembly.


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.