Interdisciplinary Master's thesis topics

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Paired masters theses: Understanding coupled social-ecological systems

Understanding coupled social-ecological systems requires an in-depth analysis of both the social and the ecological systems, and their interactions and feedbacks. Despite this recognized need, in practice this means that to answer questions related to social-ecological feedbacks requires double the amount of information, data and makes it harder for individual students to conduct it to a satisfactory level. Here we propose a coupled approach to a Masters' thesis. More... (PDF, 59 KB)

Maria J. SantosNorman Backhaus
Earth System Science, Human Geography

​​​​​​​Water landscapes: Attention and preferences

Landscapes containing water bodies are often considered as especially attractive. This master thesis will in a first step analyse literature discussing this fact. Based on this knowledge examples of different kinds of landscapes with and without water bodies shall be identified and and in a third step tested with test persons in the Eye Moving Lab. The detailed setup of this research will be established with the Master student at the beginning of the thesis.

Norman BackhausArzu CöltekinIlja van Meerveld
Human Geography, Geographic Information Visualization and Analysis, Hydrology and Climate

Glacier landscapes, aesthetics and identification

Retreating glaciers leave new landscapes with distinct characteristics that are alien or unfamiliar to many observers. This Master thesis will assess how such new post-glacial landscapes are perceived both by visitors/tourists and locals. Moreover, the question arises whether and how people identify with such landscapes and whether they are regarded as lost areas with little or no cultural value or (still) as part of an area that needs special consideration (i.e. protection). In a first step the student will analyse and categorise images of such new landscapes. In a second step the valuation of selected landscapes shall be assessed with qualitative interviews (a survey using images from the first step can also be envisaged).

Norman BackhausMichael Zemp
Human Geography, Glaciology and Geomorphodynamics

Mining, Glaciers, and Water Conflicts

In many places around the world, mining is an important economic activity (including mining for gold, coal, and other minerals). However, mining also transforms the availability and quality of other resources and natural features - such as glaciers and water. Some ongoing examples include the highly contentious case of the glacier law in Argentina. This master's thesis topic broadly proposes to further understand the conditions under which mining and water, and mining and glaciers come into competition, defined broadly. This may include the biophysical and/or political dimensions of the relation between water and mining, or mining and glaciers. More ... (PDF, 64 KB)

Muriel CôteChristian HuggelMichael ZempFrank Paul
Political Geography, Glaciology and Geomorphodynamics

The WGMS Glacier App as Teaching Tool  

Michael ZempSara Landolt
Glaciology and Geomorphodynamics, Geography Teacher Training

Seeing the world through social media: bottom-up qualitative descriptions of biodiversity test sites

Ross PurvesNorman Backhaus
Geocomputation, Human Geography

Wie der Klimawandel globale Warenketten beeinflusst: Das Beispiel der Coldwater Shrimp Industry in Grönland

Christian BerndtAndreas Vieli
Economic Geography, Glaciology and Geomorphodynamics

Soya bean systems in Europe: Links between land cover and socio-economic changes

Rogier de JongChristian Berndt
Remote Sensing Laboratories, Economic Geography

Investigating karst water flow dynamics with thermal and fluorescent tracers

The Ybrig mountains are drained by a complex network of underground streams that flow to partly known cave passages. Continuing prior water tracing experiments, a systematic study of flow paths and sink-source relations will be established with artificial (fluorescent) and natural (temperature, isotopes) tracers. This thesis includes field work where some mountaineering experience is an advantage.

Martin LüthiIlja van Meerveld
Glaciology and Geomorphodynamics, Hydrology and Climate

Spatial variability in marginal ice sheet thinning: airborne LiDAR vs. other observational approaches

Felix MorsdorfAndreas Vieli
Remote Sensing Laboratories, Glaciology and Geomorphodynamics

Vegetation trends in spatial gradients at melting glaciers

Frank PaulRogier de Jong
Glaciology and Geomorphodynamics, Remote Sensing Laboratories

Hydrological implications of tree cover changes in selected Swiss catchments

Ilja van MeerveldRogier de Jong
Hydrology and Climate, Remote Sensing Laboratories

Opportunities for geomorphological and glaciological research from the Arctic-wide high resolution ArcticDEM

Andreas VieliRoss Purves
Glaciology and Geomorphodynamics, Geocomputation

What can oxygen isotopes tells us about the origin and genesis of rock glacier ice?

Andreas VieliIlja van Meerveld
Glaciology and Geomorphodynamics, Hydrology and Climate