University Courses on
Molecular Analysis of Trophic Interactions (MATI)
Metabarcoding Organism Traces and Interactions (MOTI)


From September 2024 onwards, the MATI and MOTI courses will be combined and re-started with an updated concept as university course "Molecular Analysis of Environmental Samples" (MAnES).



Titelbild MATIMolecular approaches offer exciting possibilities to study trophic interactions. Within the last decade considerable progress has been made in DNA-based methodology to unravel who eats what including predator-prey, host-parasitoid and herbivore-plant interactions across ecosystems.

The MATI course provides a hands-on introduction to molecular trophic ecology and offers the opportunity to learn and discuss how to best apply these methods to your own research project. Participants will obtain a general background - both in theory and practice - for molecular assessment of trophic interactions, including key techniques in the lab for the application of the methods needed. Besides DNA extraction, PCR and sequencing this course focusses on assay development and evaluation.

As costs for NGS applications are continuously decreasing, metabarcoding becomes more and more attractive for ecologists to target ecological questions such as food webs and community assessment using eDNA. The MOTI course specifically deals with metabarcoding of dietary and eDNA samples. In contrast to full genome sequencing, this course focuses on targeted amplicon sequencing which allows detecting sequences of many different organisms within a single sample. In comparison to other molecular methods, such as diagnostic assays employing taxon-specific primers or Sanger sequencing, knowledge in bioinformatics is needed to process NGS data.
The MOTI course delivers a theoretical introduction to NGS and the practical analysis of metabarcoding data using a provided data set. Thus, the MOTI course supplements the MATI course specifically for NGS-based diet analysis and metabarcoding in general.


What will be covered in the MATI and MOTI course respectively?

Following the workflow of a molecular dietary study, this scheme of the course content for the MATI course (green blocks) and the MOTI course (blue blocks) provides information which parts are covered in which course. Topics from dark coloured blocks will be addressed during lectures and practical work, topics from light coloured blocks will only be discussed in theory during lectures in the respective course. Please see the 'preliminary program' for more details on the course content.

 course scheme


Feedback from participants of the MATI course:

“…I recently received a grant to detect specific species of copepods in fish gut contents and detecting fish populations with environmental DNA. I know I wouldn't have been able to write the grant without taking the MATI course …”

“…I really liked the combination of practicals and theory. This really helps to better understand the course …”

“…This course allowed me to rehearse or repeat some skills ... The discussion on implementing the techniques learned was the best. It allows you to directly apply the skills and knowledge gained in this course into research …”

If you need further help with the enrolment, please check these instructions
or contact the Division of Continuing Education via E-Mail or Telephone: +43 512 507 39402


Download course folder for MATI & MOTI

Download preliminary course program for MATI & MOTI

Download additional information for MATI & MOTI

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