Alpine Plant Ecology – International Summer School on Alpine Plant Life

Alpine Plant Ecology – International Summer School on Alpine Plant Life

Lecturers: Prof. Christian Körner, Dr. Erika Hiltbrunner (University of Basel), Prof. Jake Alexander (University of Lausanne)
Location: ALPFOR research station, Furka Pass 2440 m asl
Dates: 16. – 22. July 2017
Credit Points: 3 ECTS

Course objectives and program

The course is jointly organized by the Universities of Basel and the Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center (PSC) for graduate students with basic plant science training. The course covers microclimatology, vegetation ecology, reproduction biology, aspects of biodiversity, soil science, ecophysiology and ecosystem ecology. Morning and evening lectures, field excursions and team-work on small projects will make this week, in a truly alpine environment, a life time experience. The ALPFOR research station is surrounded by a great variety of typical alpine vegetation, including glacier forfields.

Prior knowledge/reading

Participants need to bring basic training in plant science. It is strongly recommended that participants who had no previous training in functional ecology, work through the (free) electronic course ALPANDINO -> and literature: Ch. Körner (2003) Alpine Plant Life (2nd ed.) Springer, Berlin

Number of Participants

Participation is limited to 24 students


Generally and applicable for all: apply to until 28. february 2017
Additionally for unibas-students (MSc and PhD): enroll via MOnA
Additionally for PhD-students in the PSC program „Plant Sciences“ and „Science and Policy“ enroll via: PSC
Acceptance information 24 march 2017, confirmed registration 12 may 2017.


Participants travel on their own means to the Furka Pass. The full board costs for the 6-day course are CHF 400 all inclusive. For PhD students enrolled with the PSC PhD Program in 'Plant Sciences' or ‘Plant Sciences and Policy’ the course costs will largely be paid by the PSC on a first come first serve basis (up to 6 graduates). Once accepted for the course, fees are due by 12 may 2017. Once paid, participation is confirmed.

Individual performance and assessment

Credits will be given on a pass/fail basis (active participation, design and presentation of mini-poster).


Participants will stay at the research station at the Furka Pass at 2440 m. Participants will arrive Sunday afternoon (latest for dinner and welcome at 19:00) and depart Saturday afternoon (c. 14:00). Accommodation and full board meals will be in youth hostel style. Please make your own travel arrangement. The post bus station is called 'Furkablick'. Buses start from either Andermatt or Oberwald. There is good mobile phone connection, but limited WLAN.

What to bring

You will need your laptop, notebook for field notes and lecture notes, water proof mountain boots (NO sportshoes please), slippers for indoor, sun hat, sun cream, good weather proof cloth, towel. Small bag (rucksack) for outdoor activities. There are wool-blankets, duvets, bed linen and pillow covers. Sleeping bags are welcome. Rooms are equipped with 3, 4 (mostly) and 5 beds. Self-organized group arrangements for room sharing are welcome. We commonly use the 4-bed rooms for 3 people as long as space permits.




View to the Alpine Research Station on Furka Pass