Global Change


Combined effects of pesticides and global warming on European toads

Amphibians are the most endangered vertebrate species declining worldwide. Important factors for their decline are pesticides and climate warming. However, we know very little about possible interactive effects of these factors. The objectives of the project are to examine single and combined effects of different concentrations of the globally most widely used herbicide and climate warming on the development of eggs and larvae of the most abundant amphibian species in Europe (Common toad, Bufo bufo).

Team
Fabian Baier
Edith Gruber
Matthias Jedinger
Johann Zaller

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The community ecology of urban soils: The oribatid mites of Vienna, Austria

Worldwide, more land is covered by urban development, which usually results in considerable modifications of parent soils. Soils in cities are characterized by intricate layering, high spatial heterogeneity, contamination with and accumulation of non-soil materials, chemical shifts, and finally sealing.

Team
Alexander Bruckner
Macela Suarez-Rubio
Thomas Müllner

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Do pests and beneficials benefit from rising temperature?

Climate change is a big challenge for organisms. For many regions climate change in the form of increased temperature is predicted. The present project, which covers scenarios with elevated temperatures under laboratory conditions, is designed for such regions.

Team
Nicole Auer
Martin Bramböck
Manuela Brandl
Thomas Frank
Norbert Schuller
Thomas Schwarz

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Re-establishing grasslands to promote farmland biodiversity and key ecosystem services

In a three-year investigation it will investigated whether the re-establishment of small grassland in the surroundings of a large semi-natural habitat remnant is a viable strategy to re-populate the landscape with beneficial species (epigeic predators: carabid beetles and spiders; pollinators: wild bees and hoverflies) and to increase ecosystem service efficacy of biological control and pollination, therewith transferring the positive effects of a habitat remnant into the open agricultural landscape. We will newly establish grasslands of 450 x 10 m as habitat and dispersal corridor for beneficial arthropods. Study sites are located within the habitat remnant, the newly established grasslands, in crop areas 20 m and 300 m from the grasslands.

Team
Thomas Frank

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Response of birds to land use change

Land use affects diversity and species richness of birds. Many studies have analyzed such patterns and found for instance increasing species numbers with increasing land use intensity, but a sharp decline at the highest land use intensity levels. I am particular interested in the deterministic and random driving forces in bird communities in the tropics (Southeast Asia, particularly Myanmar), Central Europe (Germany), and Latin America (Guatemala, Colombia).

Team
Swen Renner

Consequences of climate change on ecosystem functions, water balance, productivity and biodiversity of agricultural soils in the Pannonian area

The project is designed to assess the impact of climate induced stress and heavy rain events on the soil hydrology, the mass transport in the soil profile, chemical soil properties, emissions of greenhouse gases and the biological activity and biodiversity of the major soil types of the Pannonian production area. Furthermore, the impact on the vegetation (crop production, root growth, rhizodeposition, establishment of mycorrhizal fungi, establishment and diversity of weeds) is monitored. Measures to preserve or enhance the production function and biodiversity of soils under changing climatic conditions will be proposed.

Team
Alexander Bruckner
Lisa Kargl
Anna Pollak
Pascal Querner
Alina Schmerbauch
Laura Simmer
James Tabi-Tataw
Janet Wissuwa
Johann Zaller

The ecosystem process “parasitism”

The effects of human land use on complex ecological processes such as parasitism is poorly understood and an ecological framework is still missing how indirect and variable effects of land use affect interaction of host (birds), vectors (Diptera, mainly of the family Ceratopogonidae) and parasites (avian blood parasites). I focus on two model systems: (1) mosquito-transmitted avian haemosporidians and (2) tick-transmitted Lyme-disease (Borrelia). I set particular focus on the direct and indirect effects of land use on this interaction triad. Main habitat type are forests in Central Europe where land use is represented by forest management strategies. Forest management leaves a signature in the forest structure (e. g., one main tree species is left through management strategies). One possible effect among many others is the diminished resources availability for some bird species in such managed forest stands. This in turn affects body condition and may allow for soring parasite infections.

Team
Swen Renner
Diego Santiago-Alarcon (Xalapa)
Martin Schaefer (Freiburg)

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