Aquatic Ecology

FotoIn our research team we focus on the interplay between biodiversity and trophic interactions in aquatic food webs. We work in Foto2both marine and freshwater systems with primarily an experimental approach. Our research organisms are mostly within the “lower” trophic levels, from bacteria to krill, but with emphasis on microzooplankton (ciliates, rotifers, copepods and cladocerans. Major themes of our research include the role of metacommunities in regulating biodiversity and ecosystem stability in aquatic communities, how species composition and diversity influences the efficiency of trophic transfers, and measuring species-specific grazing rates to understand how species-specific differences influence community-level parameters. In addition to traditional microscopic methods, we are increasingly applying automated counting technologies, using flow cytometry and particle counters, as well as molecular methods.

We are currently looking for students for our projects in the Hohe Tauern National Park. We have an ongoing monitoring project, where we focus on the abiotic parameters and species composition in 18 high alpine lakes. The second project is a ÖAW-funded multidisciplinary (ecology, geology, hydrology and sociology) examination of the factors driving community composition in high alpine lakes, both currently and in the future as a result of anthropogenic climate change.