Titleimage: Institute of Ecology and Evolution

The Institute of Ecology & Evolution at the University of Bern is devoted to research and teaching in all aspects of ecology and evolution, and aim to provide a scientific basis for the understanding and preservation of our living world. We study the mechanisms by which organisms respond to and interact with their environment, including phenotypic responses at individual level, change in gene frequencies at population level, change in species composition and abundance at community level, and the functioning of whole ecosystems.

The institute has core research facilities, including several different field stations in Switzerland, extensive aquarium and animal husbandry facilities, and state-of-the-art molecular genetics laboratories. It also maintains institutional bonds with the Eawag Centre of Ecology, Evolution & Biogeochemistry, the Natural History Museum of BernInstitute of Bee Health, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, the Swiss Ornithological Institute, and the Doctoral School in Ecology & Evolution of Western Switzerland.

News and Events

Teacher of the Year 2023 - 2024

Prof Dr. Eva Ringler was awarded "Teacher of the Year" for third year Biology students specializing in Ecology and Evolution and Dr. Stephan Peischl for second year lecture "Statistik für Biologie".


Poster session

We had a very nice and diverse poster session at the IEE on Wednesday, 18 October, attended by researchers from all institutes at the Department of Biology and beyond.


SNSF Scientific Image Competition 2023

Congratulations to Francesca Angiolani, PhD student at the Behavioural Ecology Division! Her image “Searching for a good father” won the first prize in the category "Object of Study" in the SNSF Scientific Image Competition 2023. She even had a second image awarded by the committee. The picture “Cognition roulette” displays a Tokay gecko during a spatial learning experiment in a radial arm maze.


Volz Award Winners 2022

The Volz Award for 2022 has been awarded to Annika Freudiger (best publication from MSc thesis: Ecological variation drives morphological differentiation in a highly social vertebrate) and Zuyao Liu (best publication from PhD thesis: Chromosomal Fusions Facilitate Adaptation to Divergent Environments in Threespine Stickleback). They both presented their work as part of the seminar Lecture Series in Ecology and Evolution on November, 1st, 2022. The board of directors congratulates them for their success and whishes them all the best for their upcoming scientific career.


Teaching award

Congratulations to 4 teachers from our Institute, who have received a Science faculty award for their excellent teaching in Fall semester 2021:

- Prof. Dr. Madhav P. Thakur (Advanced concepts in Ecology and Evolution)
- Prof. Dr. Raphaël Arlettaz (Conservation Biology research practical)
- PD Dr. Jean-Yves Humbert (Conservation Biology research practical)
- PD Dr. Veronika Braunisch (Conservation Biology research practical)


New paper in PNAS

In their experimental study, Sakshi Sharda, Tobias Züst, Matthias Erb and Barbara Taborsky showed that mothers that had been exposed to predator videos during egg maturation laid heavier and more nutrient-rich eggs. The offspring hatching from these eggs had a 50 msec faster flight reflex at an age of three months compared to the control treatment, revealing an adaptive egg-mediated maternal effect on behaviour.



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