Full-day Doctoral & Master’s Seminar

Research Area Ecology and Evolution

External guests/listener are cordially invited!

We ask you to register via e-mail until Monday, 23.01.2023 at

Download Program >>

Ganztägiges Programm Dissertant:innen und Masterstudierendenseminar Ecology & Evolution


Datum: Friday, January 27, 2023

Uhrzeit: 9 AM to 5 PM

Raum: HS 421, Hellbrunnerstraße 34, 2nd floor

Gastgeber*in: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Ulrike Berninger


Univ.-Prof. Dr. Ulrike Aspöck, Natural History Museum, Vienna

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Ulrike Aspöck

Natural History Museum of Vienna

The Neuropterida (insecta: holometabola) catalyst for understanding the evolution and the universe.

A heuristic contradiction?


The Neuropterida with about 6.500 species comprise three orders: Raphidioptera (ca. 250 species in two families) which are the sistergroup of Megaloptera (ca. 400 species in two families) + Neuroptera (ca. 5.900 species in seventeen families). They represent a fascinating lingering diversity of bygone blossom. The terrestrial larvae of Raphidioptera and the aquatic larvae of Megaloptera have chewing mouthparts, the larvae of the Neuroptera have sucking tubes, which represent a spectacular synapomorphy.

The KT impact caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago extinguished – among others – the Dinosaurs and – fortunately only almost – the Raphidioptera.

Three selected conundrums instead of seventeen stories will be discussed: Ocelli of Osmylidae – a reexpression? Cryptonephry – how many times invented? Eyespots – to frighten whom? 

Our expeditions always became adventures in deserts, mountain ranges and rain forests around the globe.


Datum: Friday, January 27, 2023 in connection with MSc-PhD Seminars winter term 2022/2023 (Course 230.340 and 796.300)

Uhrzeit: 1:45-2:45 PM 

Raum: HS 421, HS 421, Hellbrunnerstraße 34, 2nd floor

Gastgeber*in: Assoz. Prof. Dr. Sabine Agatha


Didone Frigerio University of Vienna

© Daniela Matejschek

Dr. Dott. Didone Frigerio

Konrad Lorenz Research Center for Behaviour and Cognition, University of Vienna (Austria)

Behavioural biology research with interested volunteers (citizen scientists): challenges, lessons learned and future perspectives

Citizen science approaches represent a possibility to fill the gap by generating win:win outcomes for science and society. In the past ten years the Konrad Lorenz Research Center (a Core Facility of the University of Vienna located in Upper Austria) engaged in involving non-scientist participants (i.e., school classes and citizen scientists) in the long-term monitoring of three avian model species (greylag goose, Anser anser; common ravens, Corvus corax; northern bald ibis, Geronticus eremita) by collecting sightings and behaviour of individually marked birds.

I will share insights and discuss the added value generated by different projects on the social behaviour of a free-living bird involving volunteers (including pupils) as citizen scientists. Participants were enabled to monitor individuals and to identify social affiliates within a flock of graylag geese. Besides generating meaningful data for the scientific project, an additional focus was on the evaluation of the participation of pupils in the context of both, biology and science education.

We conclude that citizen science can be considered a powerful supplement for teaching natural sciences at school. Furthermore, our study underscores that participants of citizen science projects can produce accurate data for certain bird species and tasks. Involvement of non-scientist participants in research projects is expected to generate further benefits for science (management related decision) and society (enhanced knowledge and awareness of the process of scientific enquiry).

Date: Friday, January 20, 2023

Time: 2 PM

Room: HS 421, Hellbrunnerstraße 34, 2nd floor

Host: Assoz. Prof. Dr. Jana Petermann

Involvement of non-scientist participants in research projects
© Thomas Reibnegger
Involvement of non-scientist participants in research projects
© D.Fessl

Involvement of non-scientist participnts in research projects


Institute of Zoology, BOKU Vienna (Austria)

Institute of Zoology, BOKU Vienna (Austria)

Birds and bats in a changing world: the pressure of land-use change on diversity

Conversion of natural landscapes for human use or modification of management practices have transformed a large proportion of the Earth’s land surface. Land-use and land-cover change has been identified as a major threat to biodiversity because natural habitats are lost, transformed, fragmented or degraded. Forests, on one end of the spectrum, are being affected by ongoing deforestation and forest degradation, particularly in Asia. We assessed the spatial and temporal dynamics of forest cover in Myanmar’s Hkakabo Razi Landscape to determine its integrity based on forest change and fragmentation patterns. We found that forest cover slightly declined in the last couple of decades, highlighting their value for conservation. At the other end of the spectrum of the forest-to-urban gradient, urban development has profound effects on the land surface due to its persistence and dissimilarity to the natural land cover. We synthesized the relative impact of urbanization on bird species richness and abundance. We found that bird species loss happens especially at the suburban–urban interface, whereas the highest abundances occur in suburban areas compared to urban or rural areas. However, there is a lack of consensus about what “urban” means. Thus, we used a case study approach to identify measures that best characterize urban landscapes. We found that opting for a multivariate approach and taking into consideration metrics’ scale sensitivity would allow a better representation of the urban complexity. Bats also inhabit cities, although not much is known about them in the urban context. We evaluated the attributes at the local- and landscape-level to determine habitat associations in urban environments and evaluated bats’ response to vegetation complexity of urban green spaces. Response of bats to urbanization is species-specific. While some species tolerate urban habitats and exploit its roosting or foraging opportunities, others are affected by the loss or fragmentation of key natural habitats, highlighting the need for manifold management strategies in the city.

Date: Friday, December 2, 2022

Time: 2 PM

Room: HS 421, Hellbrunnerstraße 34, 2nd floor

Host: Assoz. Prof. Dr. Jana Petermann



Philipp Resl

Philip Resl

Lichen evolution viewed through the genomic lens: Novel insights and challenges

Within the last decade, genomic methods haven been increasingly employed to study lichen symbioses. Whole genomes of lichen symbionts provide novel insights into several long-standing questions in the field. I will give examples of how this has led us to rethink several aspects of lichen biology: I will talk about how a previously unknown radiation of symbiotic fungi in the Ascomycota was revealed by comprehensive phylogenomic analyses. I will also discuss how the large arsenals of carbohydrate active enzymes uncovered in many lichen fungal genomes influence our understanding of the interaction of lichen symbiotic partners.

Together with many other recent studies based on genome analyses of lichens, it seems that we are currently witnessing a gold-rush era of new discoveries. It is becoming clear that genomic methods are indispensable to study the evolution, the genetic repertoire, and the metabolic potential of lichens as the amount of available lichen symbiont genomes increases. Hence, it is important to establishing good practices when working with genome scale datasets to facilitate reproducibility, reusability, and knowledge transfer. I will therefore also try highlight some of the challenges, learned lessons and remaining unresolved issues that we experienced in our recent work. 

Date: Friday, October 21, 2022

Time: 2 PM

Room: HS 421, Hellbrunnerstraße 34, 2nd floor

Host: Mag. Dr. Ulrike Ruprecht


Twitter Link FB Umwelt und Biodiversität  Facebook Link FB Umwelt und Biodiversität Instagram Link FB Umwelt und Biodiversität