ANIMAL ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION STUDIES AT THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF BIOLOGY (SLOVENIA): FROM BIODIVERSITY MONITORING TO ECOPHYSIOLOGY

with Al Vrezec (National Institute of Biology, Ljubljana, Slovenia) | December 12, 2014 - 15h30 | CIBIO-InBIO, Vairão

CASUAL SEMINAR IN BIODIVERSITY AND EVOLUTION

 

 

Slovenia is regarded as one of the biodiversity hotspots in Europe, which makes the challenge of preserving this natural heritage even greater. The National Institute of Biology in Ljubljana is one of the key national actors in the field of biodiversity conservation and is a leading research institution in the field of ecology. In this talk some main research topics of the Department of Freshwater and Terrestrial Ecosystems Research will be presented:
1. The underlying knowledge for conservation of beetle species of European conservation concern in the scope of Natura 2000 network is collected within a framework of national monitoring scheme, which is one of the first founded in Europe.
2. Forests cover more than 60% on the territory of Slovenia and most of them are old growth forests which provide unique opportunity for studies of complex interspecific interactions in forest ecosystems. Studies of owls as top predators give insight into population dynamics, reproductive biology and intraguild interactions between coexisting owl species with the largest Ural Owl (Strix uralensis) having a detrimental influence on the forest owl assemblage through indirect interactions.
3. Two of the main threats to biodiversity are agricultural intensification and invasive species. At our institute studies of grassland ecosystems aim at providing efficient management measures to stop population declines of ground breeding grassland birds, which are one of the most threatened bird groups in Europe. In the case of the Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra) models for sustainable grassland management have been built on the basis of studies of species breeding biology. On the other hand, the ever increasing threat of invasive species to biodiversity is examined by combining field and laboratory ecophysiological research for assessment of invasiveness potential in case of freshwater crayfish. The combined effects of competitive interactions and disease transmissions by alien crayfish could have detrimental effects on native species, but not necessary as revealed by the most recent studies.

 

Al Vrezec is employed as a research associate at Department of Freshwater and Terrestrial Ecosystems Research of National Institute of Biology (Ljubljana, Slovenia). Since completing his PhD in 2004 his main research interest is ecology and conservation biology of birds and insects. Recently he became involved also in the studies of invasive species, especially of alien crayfish. Currently he is chairing the pan-European project of European Science Foundation “Research and monitoring for and with raptors in Europe” (EURAPMON), in which CIBIO-InBIO is involved as representative for Portugal. At University of Ljubljana he is engaged as Assistant Professor where he is giving lectures on ornithology and invasive ecology.

 

[Host: Miguel Carretero, Applied Phylogenetics]