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Institute of Earth and Environmental Sciences

The Institute of Earth and Environmental Sciences investigates the Earth system. The spheres of the earth - the lithosphere, the hydrosphere, the atmosphere, the biosphere and the cryosphere - exchange energy and matter and are coupled on different scales. Research at the institute has the goal to better understand conditions, processes, cycles, interactions and feedbacks within and between these spheres and to quantify human impact at local to global scales. Further, we develop scientific predictions and forecasts as a basis for informed decisions about our future and contribute to the development of renewable energy sources.


Research at the Institute of Earth and Environmental Sciences span a wide range, from exploring the interior of the earth to nature conservation to the development of renewable resource technologies. On one hand, the solid earth is characterized according to mineralogical-geochemical, crystallographic and tectonic aspects. Rocks close to the surface give insights into the climate and environmental history of the Earth. Furthermore, the atmosphere and the hydrosphere are fundamentally studied as dynamic systems and their resources are predicted on short and long time spans. The interactions between land surfaces, hydrosphere and atmosphere are investigated and modeled in the context of climate change. The biosphere - in particular the understanding of biodiversity, ecosystem processes and bio-resources - plays an important role in assessing the resilience of environmental systems, their changes in a changing climate and the anthropogenic interventions. The institute also advances our understanding of natural hazards such as landslides, meteorite impacts, storm and flood events, heat waves and droughts in order to improve predictability and risk assessments.


The Institute prepares future specialists in Earth Sciences and Environmental Sciences so they can assess, evaluate and mitigate environmental hazards using scientific approaches, and use environmental resources sustainably. Training and education take place in the classroom, in laboratory settings, using geo-computational resources and on field trips. The institute is centrally involved in the two Bachelor degree programs "Geosciences" and "Environmental Sciences" of the Faculty for Environment and Natural Resources. The faculty's M.Sc. courses are also largely taught by the institute’s professors. The faculty offers aan international M.Sc. degree in "Geology”, a bilingual M.Sc. degree in "Environmental Sciences", and a M.Sc. degree in "Hydrology". It contributes significantly to the English-language M.Sc. "Renewable Energy Engineering and Management", which is co-taught by the Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources and the Faculty of Engineering. The “Graduate School Environment, Society and Global Change (ESGC)” offers the institute's international doctoral candidates opportunities for networking, cooperation and further education.

Further Information

More information on teaching and research priorities of the individual chair groups and their staff can be found on the following websites:


Associated chair groups: