Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv)

Topic and objectives

In cooperation with the University of Turin (UNITO), the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU), the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity (iDiv) and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research- UFZ organize a summer school in Italy focused on alpine plant demography. We invite students (Master or PhD level) from Germany and Italy to participate.

The summer school aims to provide an introduction to the demographic study of plant populations. This school will teach students how to collect plant demographic data in the field and how to perform basic demographic analyses that link abiotic drivers (e.g., climate) to plant population dynamics (e.g., population growth rates, extinction probability). The data collected will be analysed in order to:

  • Quantify the basic demographic characteristics of alpine plant populations
  • Determine how these demographic characteristics change across micro-topographical gradients

The summer school will take place jointly in Alagna, and at the Angelo Mosso Scientific Institute long term ecological research site (LTER, 45.8752, 7.8717). Field collection will be carried out nearby the LTER site, at about 2700m of altitude.


All statistical analyses will be conducted using the R programming language. The language of the summer school is English.


August 2021 (dates tbd)


Prof. Dr. Tiffany Knight (MLU/ UFZ/ iDiv): expertise in demography, and experimental design

Prof. Michele Lonati(UNITO): expertise in botany, community ecology, grassland management

Dr. Aldo Compagnoni (MLU/iDiv):expertise in demographic modeling and statistical analysis

Sanne Evers (MLU/iDiv): expertise in demographic modeling


  • MSc students or PhD candidates  in the fields of botany, ecology, or other related fields (please note that the course is designed as an introduction to the topic of demographic modeling, and the content is designed for students that are new to this field of study)
  • Interest in demography and data analysis
  • Good English skills
  • Motivation to learn in an intercultural working environment


Prospective participants of the summer school should send their application to Please enclose the following documents in one PDF document:

  • a short CV (1 page), including detailed contact information
  • a statement (max. 1 page) explicitly addressing
    • why you want to attend the summer school
    • your research interests
    • how you expect to benefit from this summer school
    • your experience (if any) with statistics using R
    • your level of English skills
  • names of two people that can provide references

The summer school committee will select 10 students.

Application deadline

please wait for more information in 2021!

Costs and funding

Accomodation will be provided at no cost, and travel expenses will be reimbursed after the summer school. There is no course fee.

Funding is provided by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in the framework of the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship endowed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.


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