Paleontology has its roots in biology and geology. It deals with the remains of organisms of ancient environments (fossils) and their application to such diverse topics as rock strata dating, evolution and biodiversity studies, the biology of extinct groups of organisms as well as climate research and the reconstruction of habitats and depositional environments. But it is also used in applied settings such as exploration for hydrocarbons and other resources, or geological mapping.
Studying Paleontology at Freien Universität Berlin
All students in the BSc degree program in Geological Sciences take the "General Paleontology" course during their second semester and the "Earth History and Stratigraphy" course during their third semester, thus gaining first insights into Paleontology and its research topics.
If you choose Paleontology as your specialization (fifth–sixth semester), you will take two complete Paleontology modules (Paleoecology, Micropaleontology and Biostratigraphy) as well as other courses, and will write your bachelor's thesis on a specialized topic.
If you continue your studies in the MSc program in Geological Sciences and select Paleontology as your field of specialization, your paleontological knowledge and skills will be substantially broadened and deepened, with numerous modules in all paleontological subdisciplines such as invertebrate and vertebrate paleontology, paleobotany, micropaleontology, modern ecosystems, ecosystem dynamics, carbonate microfacies as well as various field practicals. The program ends with a master's thesis on a paleontological topic.
Our research focuses include:
paleobiology of the cephalopods, calcareous dinoflagellate cysts, ostracods and charophytes, Upper Cretaceous stratigraphy and oceanography, Cenozoic snails, ancient lakes and climate history, spores and pollen (palynology), taphonomy of fossil lagerstätten.
[Further information about our major research interests]
2-day UWITEC training session at Mondsee, Austria with BHAP team members (Christian Leipe, Stefanie Müller, Alexander Shchetnikov, Pavel Tarasov, and Dustin White) in November 2012.