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Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2018-09-01 - 2020-08-31

Animal vehicle collisions (AVC) or accidents involving non-huntable wildlife are a risk for humans and animal biodiversity which should not be underestimated due to the growing number of road kilometres in Europe. Considering huntable wildlife, more than 77,000 AVCs were counted in Austria in the season of 2015/16 (non-huntable wildlife is not included in this statistic). In 2016, 304 people were injured and one person even died as a result of the accident. Recently, several serious AVCs occurred in Austria, which also claimed human lives (ORF 14.11.2017, Standard 12.11.2017, ORF 30.10.2017). In the United States there are up to 1.6 million AVCs per year with 200 people killed and several thousand people injured. The resulting total costs of these accidents are estimated at US $ 4.6 billion (III, 2010). Not only does AnimalProtect target serious accidents for humans, it also addresses the environmental problem of road killed birds or amphibians. Worldwide only very few systematic studies on a national level investigating road-killed animals exists. Since monitoring road-killed animals on this level bears several challenges including large geographic areas and low persistence rates of carcasses resulting in time and personnel intensive monitoring approaches. However, nationwide investigations are necessary in order to be able to predict the danger to humans and animals on a large scale. The aim of the proposed project is to derive hazard zones for AVCs in the vicinity of roads using remote sensing data, expert knowledge and results from previous studies. Therefore, possible impact factors (land cover, terrain, phenological influences, environmental factors, socio-ecological factors, etc.) must be defined based on the behaviour of wild animals in order to subsequently transfer these information to potential data stocks like Copernicus data or Open Street Map (OSM) data. From this knowledge-based approach, risk areas for motorists and various animal species are to be derived. The validation of detected impact areas should be done with present vehicle accident data. In order to do so, interfaces to existing databases of wildlife accidents must be created and the data homogenized. The hazard zones derived from remote sensing and geoinformation will be offered as a cloud based service that returns the risk of an AVC in a particular area (e.g. on a scale from one (lowest accident risk) to five (major accident risk)). Different users (car drivers, insurance companies, navigation services, public authorities, etc.) should draw corresponding conclusions (e.g. when building a new road). The use of the service should also be shown in the context of a software demonstrator, which indicates the corresponding hazard depending on the Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) based position of the user and allows routing over low risk roads.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2017-10-15 - 2020-10-14

Following the process of democratization, which began in 2011, the tertiary education sector of Myanmar has been undergoing rapid development. After years of isolationism, both the previous government of U Thein Sein has started to promote international collaboration and student/staff exchanges a process, which under the current government of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been intensified with specific policies of improvement and modernization of the My-anmar educational system at all levels. Reforms in Higher Education of Myanmar is one focus of the current government. At the same time, the Ministry of Education has initiated a process of autonomy for many of Myanmar’s universities allowing them increased scope to develop their own curricula; manage their staff; build strategic alliances with foreign academic institutions, and raise externally sourced funds for teaching, research and training. The reform process to gain autonomy, as most European HEIs already have, supposedly is finished by early 2017. Therefore, in this period of academic flux, it is a most timely opportunity to promote capacity building in Myanmar’s education sector and introduce the senior administrators, as well as academic staff and postgraduate students, to new, innovative ideas concerning 21st century learning. This is without doubt a priority since years of isolation and ongoing limited funding has left the university sector ill-equipped to face the challenges of preparing a new generation of Myanmar students to compete in today’s fast-moving world. Myanmar’s society will become ever more dependent on the enhanced skills of its educated citizens to help meet edu-cational, environmental, social and economic challenges. This particular project focuses on the ‘Biodiversity Sciences’ (broad definition, including all aspects, particularly environmental protection) since the rapid, and often unmanaged, develo-pment experienced in Myanmar since 2011 is already impacting negatively on the
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2017-01-01 - 2019-06-30

BINATS 2 (BIodiversity–NATure–Safety) aims at a further survey of plant and animal diversity in the Austrian agrarian regions (fields and accompanying structures). On altogether 100 test areas which were implemented in BINATS 1, biodiversity was recorded using the indicators habitat structure, vascular plants, grasshoppers, and butterflies in 2007 (50 test areas in maize cultivation areas) and in 2008 (50 in OSR cultivation areas). A monitoring method was developed in charge of the applicant and her at that time collaborating project team (PASCHER et al. 2009a; 2010a,b; 2011a) and implemented. Now, after a period of ten years biodiversity survey should be repeated in 2017 (maize areas) and 2018 (OSR areas). In contrast to the data set of BINATS 1 which enabled a snapshot of species inventory of plants and selected animal groups, BINATS 2 additionally is able to detect and measure biodiversity trends due to the updated data set. Moreover, wild bees are incorporated into the BINATS monitoring design as an additional indicator. Survey of all indicators is carried out following the methodology described in the BINATS filed guide of PASCHER et al. 2009a & 2010b: Module 1: Habitat structures: singular survey Module 2: Vascular plants: two times survey: spring aspect and late summer aspect Module 3: Grasshoppers: singular survey Module 4: Butterflies: singular survey Module 5: Wild bees: incorporation into the BINATS monitoring design: singular survey of all 100 BINATS test areas in spring; additional triple survey of 30 hot spots of the 100 BINATS test areas during the summer Module 6: Data analyses: -Changes in habitat structures -Changes in species number and abundance of BINATS 1 indicators -Biodiversity trends in the Austrian agrarian regions -For the first time a description of the situation of wild bees in the Austrian agrarian region (regional occurrence, species diversity, abundance) -Pointing out habitat structures which are relevant for the wild bee fauna in agrarian regions and their occurrence in different agricultural land use systems -Survey of the occurrence of neophytes and changes in their abundance within a period of ten years (e.g. Ambrosia artemisiifolia) -Calculation of “extinction debt” and development of measures to save declining species in agrarian regions -BINATS 2 provides the basis for a potential detection of specific effects of genetically modified organisms (GMO) because general agrarian trends over several years are documented for the first time -Identification of ecologically sensible areas in connection with GMO in agrarian regions -Documentation of land use change -Environmental trends -Climate change determined with species occurrence considering average annual (monthly) temperatures and precipitations -Visualising effects of the already finished ÖPUL-programs -If already traceable, success control of single selected measures of the recently implemented Agrar‐Umweltförderprogramm

Supervised Theses and Dissertations