Department of Organisms and Ecosystems Research
Members of the Department of Organisms and Ecosystems Research study biological processes on different levels from cell to ecosystems. We create top-level knowledge, needed for integrated understanding of organisms and their role in the environment, from neuronal mechanisms of sensing the environmend and communication between cells to interactions in ecosystems. Our unterdisciplinary experties is used to propose more efficient nature conservation strategies and more sustainable management of the environment.
Our research is focused on the neurobiological level of vibrational communication as the basis of behavioural responses of insects. We study the functional and morphological characteristics of individual vibration receptors and interneurons, as well as processing of relevant behavioural vibratory stimuli.
Communication is an important element of any behaviour associated with reproduction and survival of the animals in the environment. The effectiveness of communication depends on the ability for specimens of the same kind to recognise and find each other.
Eco-physiologyWithin the framework of ecophysiological research, the adaptation of certain organisms (crustaceans, aquatic plants) to their environment, as well as the effect of some environmental factors, e.g. temperature, drought, and xenobiotic chemicals on those organisms is studied.
Bees and Wild Pollinators
We study the effects of pesticides on bees. In particular, we are interested in the effects of doses that do not cause death, but affect behaviour, and therefore their action is much more subtle. In the field of diseases, we are exploring the possibility of resistance selection in the Carniolan bee to the parasitic Varroa destructor mite.
Early Detection of Wood Destroying PestsWe are dealing with early detection of wood destroying pests, namely beetles belonging to groups Cerambycidae and Curculionidae. Laser vibrometry as a highly sensitive method for the detection of vibrations in solid materials has proved to be very suitable for the detection of larval wood beetles, such as larvae of the longhorn beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) and the red palm weevil (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus).
TaxonomyThe department develops expert knowledge regarding the determination of diatoms (algae), aquatic macrophytes, aquatic invertebrates (Cladocera and Copepoda), insects (Coleoptera), and birds (Aves).
The structure and function of freshwater ecosystems (lakes, rivers, groundwater) is investigated with special emphasis on human pressures including climate change, land use, pollution, river management and invasive species.
In addition to basic autecological and sinecological research work regarding terrestrial ecosystems, human-related influences on terrestrial ecosystems are investigated by using widespread groups of organisms as bioindicators, predominantly birds, insects, and plants.
The activities include primarily inventory of nature, species and habitat types, as well as environmental impact assessments as a consequence of human activities.