33155 Marine Biology and Biogeochemistry in Elba, Italy (4KP)


Spring semester 2017: Monday, 26. June (arrival day) to Friday, 07. July (departure day)

A joint course of the Zoology and Biogeochemistry programs at the Department of Environmental Sciences


Field station of the Hydra Institute in Fetovaia, in the south-west corner of the island of Elba, Italy

Aims of this 12-day course:

  • gain experience in working scientifically in a marine environment
  • obtain knowledge of marine habitats and biodiversity
  • learn about biogeochemical processes and element cycling that occur in marine sediments, the water column, and at their interface
  • obtain integrative biological and biogeochemical insight into the coastal marine environment

Course program:

  • the course covers four main topic blocks addressing specific habitats

    • the sediment-water interface (solute gradients, benthic fluxes, bioturbation, macrofauna)
    • inside the sediments (marine sediments and organic matter, respiration, microfauna)
    • primary production and decomposition (photosynthesis, seagrass, grazing, organic matter degradation/methanogenesis)
    • the water column (nutrient flows, plankton, marine food chain)

  • each block involves lectures, field activities, laboratory experiments, and faunistic excercises
  • specifically, the practical work involves

    • collecting samples in the field (snorkeling, diving, sediment coring)
    • extracting and identifying marine organisms
    • quantifying biogeochemical fluxes and measuring typical oceanographic parameters (microsensor profiling, gas chromatography, spectrophotometry)
    • sharing of results and observations with the other course participants


    • Prof. Dr. Moritz Lehmann, Environmental Geosciences, Department of Environmental Sciences
    • PD Dr. Helge Niemann, Environmental Geosciences, Department of Environmental Sciences
    • PD Dr. Lukas Schärer, Zoology, Department of Environmental Sciences

Requirements for participation:

  • no special requirements, but students should feel comfortable being in the water
  • priority is given to students that are enrolled (or will soon enroll) in one of the following UniBas MSc programs
    • Masterprogramm Biologie der Tiere (Master Biologie der Tiere 03)
    • Modul Environmental Geosciences and Biogeochemistry
    • Masterprogramm Ökologie (Master Ökologie 03)
  • provided available space we will also consider UniBas BSc students and students from other Universities


The registration opens with the start of the spring semester, on Monday, 20. February 2017. There will be lists in the secretary offices of the Biogeochemistry, Environmental Sciences (Bernoullistrasse 30, Mrs. Karin Liesenfeld) and the Zoological Institute (Vesalgasse 1, Mrs. Yasmin Picton). The course is limited to 16 students (ideally we want 8 UniBas MSc students each with a biology and geosciences background). Pending space, we will also consider UniBas BSc students and appropriately qualified students from other universities.

Preparatory Meeting:

The registered students have to attend a preparatory meeting, which will be held on Wednesday, 15.03.2017, 12:15 o'clock, lecture room 103, Bernoullianum.


We expect students to arrive independently at the Hydra station on Monday, 26. June 2017 around 17:00. See this link for detailed travel instructions.

Accommodation and meals:

During the course students are accommodated at the Hydra station, overlooking the beautiful Fetovaia Bay or in the small village of Fetovaia. To keep costs low, we will shop and cook for ourselves. Every day a different group of three students will organize the shopping and cooking.


Diving during the course will be possible, but it has to be coordinated with the staff of the Hydra station and the costs have to be covered separately by the participants. Please contact the station well ahead of time.

Further Information:

Contact Moritz Lehmann (moritz.lehmann-at-unibas.ch) or Lukas Schärer (lukas.scharer-at-unibas.ch) if you require additional information.


We currently expect that the costs will be about 740 Swiss Francs for the accommodation and the course. This does not include costs for the meals, for which we will collect money from everyone during the course (ca. 75 Euros). Moreover, for people who require snorkeling equipment (i.e. mask, snorkel, fins, dive suit, and booties) an extra fee of 60.- Euros will be charged for the rent over the full duration of the course.

Credit points:

4 credit points. Active and dedicated participation (e.g. presentation of results and observations) is mandatory.