Detailed information about the course

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Field Course: How microbes are affected by and how they respond to global environmental changes in the high mountains of the Alps.


5 to 10 September 2022

Responsable de l'activité

Pilar Junier


Prof. Kurt Hanselmann, University of Zurich


Prof. Kurt Hanselmann, University of Zurich


This 5-day activity aims at offering the students the required training by combining field activities with the development of a practical project that can be accomplished in the field. 


This course will be part of the integrated Earth Systems Science (i-ESS) program. We offer a field course in Geomicrobiology and Environmental & Microbial Ecology in high altitude ecosystems.

In this year's Earth Systems Science Course we are studying the Role of the Alps in the global Carbon Cycle: Sinks and sources of carbon in high-altitude ecosystems. Habitat Changes in glacial retreat areas, Colonization and Evolution of "new" Habitats, and Life Strategies under harsh and highly dynamic conditions. But also old sedimentary rocks that release CO2 and the suitability of different bedrocks and fluvial deposits for colonization by microorganisms and plants.

We will study, exclusively in the field, the role microorganisms play in "carbonising" biologically "empty" glacial retreat areas, thereby creating habitability under the extreme conditions of alpine environments and leading to the early evolution of ecosystems.

We will ask how rocks can promote colonisation, the roles rocks play in sequestering life-supporting nutrients and how microorganisms can initiate the evolution of geobiochemical cycles.

The course aims to develop skills for field work:

- How to document observations,

- How to integrate them into the existing knowledge base,

- How to make decisions and create new hypotheses in the field,

- How to compile a logical and scientifically sound story from data and impressions.

Each student group will focus on a topic of interest, develop a study script and, over the duration of the course week, design a presentation that will convince and demonstrate to an interested citizen how global changes affect local high mountain ecology.


You can find more detailed information about the course here





The participants will ne hosted at the Davos Youth palace, a Youth Hostel (


By login in as a guest on the OLAT website, you can access information about

 - The cancellation policy 

And important information to best prepare for a High Altitude GeoBiology mission here

- Preparation lectures

- Field guides

- Essentials, etc.


Travel and accomodation costs are reimbursed by the CUSO



Deadline for registration : 15.07.22

You can cancel free of charge until the 15.07.22, after this date you will have to pay a cancellation fee.

In case of a "No show", you will have to pay a 100.- fee

To cancel your registration, please write to us at microbiologie(at)cuso(dot)ch



Deadline for registration 15.07.2022

If you have any question please contact us at microbiologie(at)cuso(dot)ch

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