Global Change


Biodiversity-based ecosystem services in vineyards: analysing interlinkages between plants, pollinators, soil biota and soil erosion across Europe

Essential ecosystem services (ES) in viticulture landscapes result from diverse communities of organisms and their interactions. Traditional viticulture usually was part of a multifunctional agricultural system including low-input grassland management and fruit production. Therefore, the high diversity of habitats resulted in a high functional biodiversity. However, in the last decades, land use changes and intensification in vineyard management caused a separation of production and conservation areas.

Team
Pascal Querner
Silvia Winter
Johann Zaller

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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
Pascal Querner
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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Hkakabo Razi Landscape: nomination as World Heritage Site under criterion 9 and 10

The Hkakabo Razi Landscape (HRL) is located in the northernmost tip of Myanmar, bordering several important protected areas located in China, India and Myanmar. Comprising the Hkakabo Razi National Park, a planned extension thereof, and the Hponkan Razi Wildlife Sanctuary, the HRL is considered to be the last remaining large functioning ecosystem of the Himalaya. Covering an area of over one million hectares of continuous and undisturbed habitats, ranging from tropical evergreen rain forest to snowcapped mountains, the area is critically important for the survival of many animal communities and species. The Institute of Zoology is supporting the nomination process by providing unique datasets and revising the scientific contributions to support the NWCD in this important process.

Team
Swen Renner

Marcela Suarez Rubio

(in cooperation with NWCD, UNESCO, SNSD, and others)

Birds and 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

Avian Malaria in urban systems

Urbanization is globally increasing at increasing pace. Humans convert natural sites into cities and town and increase the urban space tremendously. This conversion has effects on fauna and flora which partially adapt to the urban space. In addition, ecosystem processes, such as the host-vector-parasite interaction should change compared from forests to urban places. We test (a) if avian Haemosporidia increase along an urban gradient and (b) if vectors (and their relative abundance) explains the changes in parasite prevalence form forest to the city cores.

Team
Swen Renner
Marcela Suarez-Rubio
Astrid Neumann

Willem van Hoesel

Animal movement in human dominated landscapes

One pressing environmental challenge is determining how widespread habitat loss and fragmentation affect animal populations. Understanding how these changes are affecting movement abilities and dispersal trajectories of organisms is critical. Certain biological features could allow organisms to persist in remnant habitats or cross matrices, even if they typically do not move across anthropogenic matrices. We are interested in evaluating moving trajectories of bird species when challenged to cross a pasture matrix to return to their home territories.

Team
Swen Renner
Marcela Suarez-Rubio

Avian Malaria in urban systems

Urbanization is globally increasing at increasing pace. Humans convert natural sites into cities and town and increase the urban space tremendously. This conversion has effects on fauna and flora which partially adapt to the urban space. In addition, ecosystem processes, such as the host-vector-parasite interaction should change compared from forests to urban places. We test (a) if avian Haemosporidia increase along an urban gradient and (b) if vectors (and their relative abundance) explains the changes in parasite prevalence form forest to the city cores.

Team
Swen Renner
Marcela Suarez-Rubio
Astrid Neumann

Willem van Hoesel

Birds of the Hkakabo Razi Landscape, Myanmar

The avifauna of northern Myanmar is poorly known and new insights into the biology, distribution, occurrence, behavior, and biogeography of the birds in Myanmar and particularly the northernmost tip of Myanmar are produced constantly. The area’s hill jungle is largely untouched by humans and

has not been visited by ornithologists since the late 1940s. Even today, this jungle can be considered a pristine forest with large tracts "untouched" in the literal sense and a refuge area for most biodiversity. During my recent visits to this extraordinary, species-rich area I compiled in cooperation with several partners an inventory of the avifauna that includes records of more than 440 birds

species condensed into less than 1% of Myanmar's terrestrial surface. Although the area is very small, the species found include endemics as well as globally threatened taxa and represent more than a third of all known bird species from the country.

Team
Swen Renner

Response of bird communities to urbanization in Mandalay, Myanmar

 

 

Team
Elisabeth Wiedenegger
Marcela Suarez-Rubio
Swen Renner