Environmental Change Ecology, Biodiversity and Sustainability

Human beings are degrading natural ecosystems and endangering their biodiversity. According to recent estimates, one million species will become extinct. The consequences that such an enormous extinction will have for essential ecosystem services can hardly be foreseen, but will potentially be massive. Research in this area investigates how climate change and changes in land use, use and overuse of the oceans, biological invasions and environmental pollution influence the functions of terrestrial, marine and limnic ecosystems, and how these changes impact the taxonomical, functional and phylogenetic diversity at all levels of biological organisation, from genes to landscapes.

© Jakob Schelker: Measurement of CO2 emissions during winter, Lake Lunz

© Bea Maas

© Bea Maas

© Dep. of Functional and Evolutionary Ecology

Researchers in this area further work on topics related to systems ecology and agroecology, and aim to intensify the study of the biogenic production of greenhouse gases and plastics, as well as of the biological accumulation of heavy metals, biocides and pharmaceutical substances in terrestrial and aquatic food chains. The range of methodologies used by the research teams in this area include technologies of molecular biology, ecophysiology, biogeochemistry, and ecological genomics, as well as social ecology and macroecology, and comprise statistical and mathematical modelling approaches. Research in this field is aimed at improving the understanding of ecosystemic processes of change and their connection with the extinction of species. This understanding provides a basis for effective conservation and restoration measures. In addition, this research area endeavours to raise awareness, among students and the general public, of the current biodiversity crisis.

Research Groups

Research Group / PI Research Topic Department
Federico Baltar Gonzalez Biological Oceanography Functional and Evolutionary Ecology
Monika Bright Chemosynthesis in Marine Benthic Ecosystems Functional and Evolutionary Ecology
Stefan Dullinger Plant Migration and Alpine Ecosystems Botany and Biodiversity Research
Franz Essl Bioinvasions, Global Change, Macroecology Botany and Biodiversity Research
Konrad Fiedler Animal Ecology and Biodiversity Botany and Biodiversity Research
Irmgard Greilhuber Mycology Botany and Biodiversity Research
Christian Griebler Groundwater Ecosystems Functional and Evolutionary Ecology
Gerhard Herndl Marine Microbial and Molecular Ecology Functional and Evolutionary Ecology
Hubert Keckeis Fish Ecology in Rivers Functional and Evolutionary Ecology
Ingeborg Lang Structural and Functional Plant Cell Biology Functional and Evolutionary Ecology
Ovidiu Paun Plant Ecological Genomics Botany and Biodiversity Research
Simon Rittmann Archaea Physiology & Biotechnology Functional and Evolutionary Ecology
Michael Schagerl Functional Ecology of Microalgae Functional and Evolutionary Ecology
Christa Schleper Archaea Ecology and Evolution Functional and Evolutionary Ecology
Gerald Schneeweiss Plant Biogeography Botany and Biodiversity Research
Hanna Schneeweiss Plant Evolutionary Cytogenetics Botany and Biodiversity Research
Jürg Schönenberger Evolution and Phylogenetics of Angiosperms Botany and Biodiversity Research
Hermann Voglmayr Herbarium; fungal systematics and ecology Botany and Biodiversity Research
Wolfram Weckwerth Systems Theory in Ecology and Biology Functional and Evolutionary Ecology
Stefanie Wienkoop Plant-Microsymbiont Interaction Functional and Evolutionary Ecology