Evolution of Marine Ecosystems

Lecturers: Simone Kasemann, Jens Lehmann, Karin Zonneveld


Global climate events in Earth`s history have exerted a major influence on the development of the biosphere and marine ecosystems, while in turn the biosphere has been able to exert a major influence on the Earth system. In this course, current scientific publications and controversial theses and questions on key events in biological evolution and environmental development are discussed by means of discussion rounds and seminar lectures. The central topics include, for example, the global glaciations in the Cryogenian "Snowball Earth", the extinction event at the Permian-Triassic boundary, the emergence of large-scale oceanic anoxic events, the evolution of humans and today`s climate change.


After completing the course, students will have a comprehensive knowledge of current scientific issues in marine ecosystem evolution. They are able to
- conduct independent literature research
- compare experimental data with existing models
- present scientific topics and their problems in a reflected manner in a lecture and present them in writing.
- discuss different geoscientific views of relevant topics confidently


Combined assessment of written essay and oral presentation about a selected scientific ecosystem evolution issue

Exam Form:



Recently published scientific publications of the scientific issues will be provided


1st SWS: Introduction - distribution of themes
2nd SWS: First Life
3rd SWS: Snowball Earth
4th SWS: First Eukaryotes
5th SWS: Cambrian Explosion
6th SWS: Marine terrestrial correlation
7th SWS: Mass Extinctions 1
8th SWS: Mass Extinctions 2
9th SWS: Mesozoic ecosystems
10th SWS: Anoxic Events
11th SWS: Cretaceous - Tertiary boundary
12th SWS: Modern Cryosphere
13th SWS: Anthropocene
14th SWS: Presentations