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 Palaeontology in Freiberg - education


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Here we show you the palaeontological content of our lectures and seminars, the schedule of practices and excursions and the whole organizational structure of palaeontological education at Freiberg University.
After reading you know, what palaeontological things (in our eyes) are important to know for any geologist. Further you can find reports of past excursions (within Germany and to abroad) organized by the palaeo-department and also data of such forthcoming events.

Active students here have the possibility to inform about the palaeontological examinae (topics, levels, dimension, ...), about field courses (content, organizational data), and lectures (manuscripts and graphic illustrations from lectures and seminars, printable or as download).

Palaeontological lectures

lecture titel semester extent (l/s) lecturer
Basics in palaeontology 1. 2/2 Schneider (l), Elicki (s)
Microbiofacies analysis 2. 1/2 Elicki
Palaeobotany 6. 1/1 Rößler/Kunzmann
Applied palaeontology/stratigraphy 7. 2/0 Schneider
Practices in palaeont./stratigraphy 7. 0/3 Schneider, Elicki
Palecology 8. 2/1 Schneider
Vertebrate palaeontology 8. 2/1 Schneider

Contents/major focus:

Basics in palaeontology

In weekly lectures and seminars within a first complex the theories of the origin of life and of the evolution process on Earth are discussed. A second complex is engaged in taphonomic problems and in the interactions of organisms and the sediment (as accumulation, destruction, sediment building, different processes). A third complex is dedicated to the study of the major invertebrate fossil groups and its geological, palecological, and biostratigraphical importance. We appreciate on the fossil enclosed information for reconstructing life habitats and depositional circumstances. The student should be able to see the facts in fossil and stone and to interpret the conditions within the geological framework. In first order, fossils are tools for the reconstruction of the past environment and of the following geological processes.

Microbiofacies analysis

Within bi-weekly lectures and weekly practices you learn about the most important microfossil groups, their morphological characteristics, their biology and evolution patterns. The education is focused on the geological, palecological, palaeogeographical, and biostratigraphical importance of this groups. The importance of the microbiota regarding the biotic sedimentation (fossil and recent sediment builders) and the value of the micros as facies indicators are extensively discussed. In the applied part the role of microfossils in (1) microfacies analysis of sediments, in (2) exploration and characterization of deposits, and in (3) engineering and environmental geology is shown. During the practices, microfossils, sediment samples, and thin sections are investigated.

(optional, compulsorily for specialization in palaeontology, recommendable for specialization in sedimentology and fuel geology)

The lectures and seminars of this lesson are bi-weekly and give an overview on the evolution of plants starting with the colonialization of the terrestrial environment until recent. Basis for this education are the main groups of the fossil plants, their structure and life forms and their environmental conditions - from single plants up to plant associations and communities. We appreciate on the role of plants in the ecosystems as well as in the worlds carbon cycle and during the origin of coal, gas and oil deposits. Applied aspects of fossil plants are their contribution to palaeogeographic reconstructions as well as stratigraphic index fossils and climate indicators. (details)

Applied Palaeontology/Stratigraphy
(optional, compulsorily for specialization in palaeontology, recommendable for specialization in sedimentology, geodynamics, tectonics, and applied subjects as hydrogeology)

This lecture relates between palaeontology, stratigraphy, sedimentology, regional and applied geology. It should teach geology as a complex science with interdisciplinary approach. During the lectures real geological tasks and situations from the institute's own scientific work as well as from different institutions and firms are discussed, e.g.: (1) methods, results and synthesis of age dating (bio-, litho-, chronostratigraphy, log- and seismic stratigraphy, event and sequence stratigraphy); (2) facies and environmental analysis, palaeogeography and palaeoclimatology; (3) interpretation of palaeontological and stratigraphic data for a complex analysis in geotectonics; (4) case studies of geological mapping, deposit exploration, hydrogeology and environmental geology.

Practices in Palaeontology/Stratigraphy
(optional, compulsorily for specialization in palaeontology, recommendable for specialization in sedimentology, geodynamics, tectonics, and applied subjects as hydrogeology)

On special case studies of recent research projects the students can practice alone ore within a team the methods of stratigraphic and origin interpretation of sample material from the field or from drillings (project work). The students learn to investigate and to produce a special report. During this work sometimes new investigation and preparation methods are developed and the usual technics of graphic presentation of the resulting data (from light up to SEM microscopy and computer based analysis) are traineed.
At the end there is a synthesis of all investigated palaeontological and sedimentological and literature data into a project report.

(optional, compulsorily for specialization in palaeontology, recommendable for students with a broad interest in bio- and geosciences)

At the beginning the students learn about basics on ecology, on the structure and function of ecosystems. This should help to understand the complex processes within modern ecosystems and to use this knowledge during the later own work. Actual topics as the climate change, ozone hole, global warming and other today human made impacts are discussed in the context of palecological phenomena as anoxic events, mass extinctions and others. On this basis the structure and evolution of ecosystems in the Earth history and its relationships within the lithosphere-hydrosphere-atmosphere-biosphere system are demonstrated. During practices the students work an autonomic project on recent or fossil ecosystems.

Vertebrate palaeontology
(optional, compulsorily for specialization in palaeontology, recommendable for students with a broad interest in bio- and geosciences)

This lecture should give an overview on the major processes and steps in the evolution of vertebrate animals up to the men itself. The main content are the theories and data of the origin and evolution of the vertebrate body plan. Anatomy is shown here as the functional morphology in the relation between the evolving geo- and biosphere and the adaptive radiation of the vertebrate body plan. On many case studies the interactions between the organisms itself (food webs, predator-prey-relation, competition, replacement) and its environment (climate, migrations, impacts) are discussed. Enclosed is the geologic interpretation of vertebrate fossil remains in biostratigraphy and palaeogeography. During the practice (following the interests of the students) different topics are investigated. Different excursions are dedicated to famous vertebrate fossil localities - from sharks in the northwestern Saxony eruptive volcanic complex via the French Massif Central to the old birds of Solnhofen up to the pleistocene mammals of the Werra region and the hominids of Weimar-Ehringsdorf and Bilzingsleben. Further, during the hollidays some practices to vertebrate excavation campaigns can be managed.

Palaeontological excursions and fiels courses

The department carry out several two- and more-days excursions and field training courses. Two-days courses are taking place mostly on weekends within the semester, longer courses between the semesters.

course title semester duration (days) lecturer
Field course I - drill core documentation 1. 5 Schneider (Gaitzsch)
Palaeontology/stratigraphy 2. 1 Schneider (Elicki)
Palaeontology I (marine biotops) 2. 2 Elicki
Mapping course I - methods and technics 2. 7


Field course in geophysics 2. 5


Stratigraphy I (Precambrian-Cambrian) 3. 2 Elicki
Palaeontology II (terrestrial biotops) 4. 2 Schneider (Gaitzsch)
Applied palaeontology/stratigraphy (northern Bohemia) 4. 2 Elicki (Gaitzsch)
Mapping course II 4. 12


Regional geology II 5. 2 (Schneider) Gaitzsch
Mapping course III (bachalor-mapping) 6. 2-3 we. Schneider, Elicki
Palaeontology III (palaeobotany) 7. 1 (Schneider) Rößler
Palaeontology IV (palecology) 8. 2 Schneider (Elicki)
Barrandean field trip 8. 3 Elicki
Field course VIII - palaeont./biostrat./biofacies 5. to 9. 1-2 we. Schneider, Elicki
Field course X - geol. abroad excursion 2-3 we.
*) are carried out together or in alternation with other departments

Manuscripts/graphics/reports (for students)

abroad field course 1998
report as pdf-file
MuB-excursion 2001
"The classical mudmounds -facies architecture & palecological position"
abroad field course 2002
script and
report as pdf-files
lesson script Micropalaeontology
since 2004 available at:
Geology office (1,50 €)

© O. Elicki <elicki@geo.tu-freiberg.de>, 06.07.2012, http://www.geo.tu-freiberg.de/palaeo/lehre2.html