Which organisms are able to adapt to global change? How do birds decide when and where to migrate? When and why do individual differences in physiology or behavior evolve?
This Master's degree program has a selection procedure.
During the two-year Master's program Ecology and Evolution, you will gain insight into the living organism in relation to its environment. Ecology and evolution are strongly interdependent: without ecology, we cannot really understand natural selection; and without evolution, we cannot really understand the properties of organisms and their interaction with the environment. Ecology and evolution are relevant for all domains of the life sciences.
Ecology and evolutionary biology play a crucial role in facing the grand challenges of our time. This includes the development of realistic plans for coping with the implications of global change, for stopping the alarming biodiversity loss, for designing evolutionarily stable strategies to set-up a sustainable society, and for developing evolution-informed medical treatment. The research fields of ecology and evolution are highly dynamic. Powerful new techniques (e.g. GPS-tracking of migrating birds over the whole planet; remote sensing; tracking of individual cells in a culture of micro-organisms; genome-wide sequencing; individual-based simulations; new methods to analyze ‘big data’) allow us to resolve long-standing puzzles.
These new approaches lead to new insights and concepts that change our way of thinking, including a range of new integrative disciplines (e.g. evo-devo; evolutionary medicine; evolutionary community ecology; ecological immunology; evolutionary systems biology; adaptation and conservation genomics; evolutionary psychology). With this Master's program, we aim to educate the new generation of scientists in ecology and evolution, both those who want to study the big fundamental questions in all domains of the life sciences and those who want to contribute to solving the grand challenges of our time.
The Master's degree program Ecology and Evolution are offered by the Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences (GELIFES), which conducts internationally recognized research in a unique diversity of areas relevant for ecology and evolution, including conservation biology, community ecology, microbial ecology, marine biology, evolutionary genetics and genomics, evolutionary systems biology, ecophysiology, neurobiology, chronobiology, evolutionary medicine, behavioral ecology, animal personality research, social evolution, and theoretical biology. We study a wide array of species, from microbes, algae, plants, and insects to vertebrates such as fish, birds, rodents, marine mammals, large herbivores, and humans.
The selective Master's program offers 2 specialized research tracks:
Evolutionary Biology, that is strongly research-oriented and designed to provide optimal preparation for a subsequent Ph.D. and eventually a career in academic research;
Ecology & Conservation, to educate the new generation of ecologists to contribute to understanding and solving the global ecological problems, as a scientist and practitioner in the field. In this program, you will learn how organisms, populations, and communities are affected by changing environmental conditions, and how this knowledge can contribute to successful ecological conservation and restoration programs.
The selective Master's program is designed for students primarily aiming for a career in research, and who are able to keep up with the study pace of the cohort that starts in September. Students who aim for a career that focuses on the business and policy side of science are referred to our Master’s program Biology. The Master's program Biology is also an option for students who would like to start after start studying during the academic year, but restrictions and deadlines apply.
Why study this program in Groningen?
Combination of in-depth training and the opportunity for designing a tailor-made program in ecology and evolution
Possibility to obtain a double degree with the universities Uppsala, Montpellier, or Munich - for students in the Evolutionary Biology track that are registered in the MEME program
Students form collaborative cohorts and frequently interact with their supervisors & teachers
Coaching by a personal mentor
Broad-spectrum of research projects, tailored to the individual preferences of the student, ranging from microbes to whales, and from molecules to ecosystems. Research can be conducted in the field or in the lab and theoretically as well as experimentally.
Opportunities to conduct fieldwork in diverse environments (on all five continents), including the nearby Wadden Sea (on the UNESCO World Heritage list) and the arctic regions.
Our faculty is the home of the 2016 Nobel laureate in Chemistry, Ben Feringa, and GELIFES is the home of the 2014 Spinoza Prize winner, Theunis Piersma.