Marine Zoology


Marine Zoology



Please note: There will be no courses offered in 2017 due to restructuring measures.


This standard course is an ideal way to get an overview of the major groups of marine animals. It provides students and other participants with an in-depth introduction to the diversity of the Mediterranean fauna, with a focus on invertebrates. To respond to the requests of many participants we have also integrated the fishes.

Course director is the biologist Stephan Pfannschmidt.


Stephan obtained his degree from the University of Regensburg with a work on crustaceans at the Biological Station of Helgoland. He is co-founder of the HYDRA Institute for Marine Sciences, has a sound knowledge of the Mediterranean Sea, is an experienced diving instructor and is co-author of the 2001 textbook  “Das Mittelmeer”.





Contents of the course


This course gives an introduction to the fauna of the Mediterranean Sea and helps to develop a deeper knowledge on systematics and morphology of marine animals.

The identification and classification of organisms into a system based on the history of life is key to the understanding of the evolutionary relationships among species





Research results and the story behind are part of the lectures (F. Schermutzki, 2001; see also Gemballa and Schermutzki, Marine Biology (2004) 144:1213-1222)


The aim of this course is to approach the systematic groups of marine animals and their ecological relationship - under water as well as in the classroom.

Field observations and the study of living animals in aquaria are the main components of this course. These allow students to understand the functional morphology of marine animals. 

During this intense field course the participants have the unique opportunity to experience and study all major invertebrate groups as well as rare "specialties" of the marine fauna.


Direct field observations are complemented by in-depth investigations in the laboratory

(different cnidocysts under the microscope)

Main topics

  • Evolution, systematics, and taxonomy of the Mediterranean fauna 
  • Functional morphology and special adaptations 
  • Ecology of marine fauna: defense, nutrition, sensory systems and reproduction 
  • The way of living of the organisms in their natural environment
  • Larval development of selected groups


  • Underwater observation, documentation and sampling of different faunal groups.
  • Boat-based sampling of plankton.
  • Introduction to underwater sampling techniques (sampling box, corers, air-lift).
  • Classification of organisms under water, on the shore, and in the lab with microscopes (ZEISS) and special literature.
  • External analyses and observations of selected organisms (own samples and by-catch).
  • Oral, photo and video presentations about systematics, morphology, zoogeography and ecology of all important groups of marine animals.
  • Documentation (drawings, photos and video).
  • Discussions based on video and photo documentation.


  • Current dive medical certificate, not older than 3 years (one year for under 18 and over 40 year old, respectively).
  • Recognized SCUBA diving certificate, at least 1 star (VDTL*, VDST*, CMAS* or similar, PADI OWD or comparable) or booking for the integrated SCUBA diving course.


  • After successful completion of the course a graded certificate will be issued, given the participants fullfilment of the following requirements:
  • Regular attendance of all course hours, successful completion and examns for practical and theoretical units of the SCUBA diving course (if applicable), or elaboration of a report of underwater observations, a short presentation during the course, and a written report on the course.

  • Each course is recommended to be rated with 3 ETCS credit points. With additional work (e.g. more detailled course report, presentation at home university) some universities give up to 5 credit points for the participation in the course.



EUR 735,-
*(summer: EUR 785,-)
additional EUR 30,- examination fees only for diving course participants

Included services

10 overnight stays in shared accommodation, dormitory-style (self-catering), eight days of biology class including accompanied diving or SCUBA diving course. Complete diving equipment rental included.


To our registration site