Those who are interested in me supervising their Betriebspraktikum: Please check our website whether your topic (NOT your study animal) falls into one of our research interests or areas of teaching. NO? Please send me an email with your topic and I will decide.

YES? Please send me two pages outlining the scientific topic of your proposed work (NOT about the animal you want to work with!). In other words, please tell me why it is scientifically interesting to do this work. Here is how you can do that:

1) Start with a strong first sentence related to your topic (NOT about your study organism). I repeat: DO NOT START YOUR OUTLINE WITH YOUR STUDY ORGANISM (you will see how your thoughts change if you start with your topic!). For example “The genetic diversity of a population predicts its extinction risk and its evolutionary potential”. Wow – that’s a first sentence, isn’t it? One really wants to read on, no?

2) Then give a bit more detail and include three to five primary references. (Primary references are peer-reviewed journal articles or books. Wikipedia or textbook chapters, websites or newspaper articles are not primary references). DON’T SUBMIT YOUR OUTLINE WITHOUT PRIMARY REFERENCES. And still DON’T MENTION YOUR STUDY ORGANISM.

3) Then carry on… tell me now why the biology of your study organism is suitable to address the scientific questions that you introduced earlier. “Populations of the long-nosed bird-eating frog occur in a highly patchy pattern in the Peruvian Andes. Studying the frogs’ genetic diversity and following their population decline will help me to find out how genetic diversity is related to extinction risk.” (Noticed? You made the connection with your first sentence!).

4) “Because the population genetic structure FST is the main measure of genetic diversity, I will go to Peru and help collecting long-nosed bird-eating frogs that will be used to measure population genetic structure.”

5) Here are more hints of how to write a report, or in fact, any scientific paper. Send the paper to me and I will then get some comments back to you. Betriebspraktikum in our lab will be completed by the normal oral presentation plus a max. 4-page report (in German or English).