Jan-Christoph Otto

 

image JCO

Jan-Christoph Otto

Contact:

Ass.-Prof. Dr. Jan-Christoph Otto

Department of Geography and Geology
University of Salzburg
Hellbrunnerstr. 34
A – 5020 Salzburg
Austria, Europe

E-mail: jan-christoph.otto@sbg.ac.at
Fon: +43 – (0)662 – 8044 – 5291
Mobile: +43 (0)664 8482 380

Room No. 3.032

Homepage: www.geomorphology.at/otto

Research Interests
Changes of high mountain landscapes manifested through landform changes, dynamic sediment movements and the related consequences for society are a focus in my scientific work. Currently the formation of glacial lakes in the Austrian Alps and their impact on geomorphologic systems as well as the mountain environment are of great interest to me (Link to project FUTURELAKES). I am also involved in activities focussing on permafrost and glacier related slope stability issues and implications on natural hazards.

In my research I combine traditional geomorphological quantitative and qualitative field methods with shallow geophysics and GIS analysis.

Working together with an motivated group of fellows and students is an important part of my scientific and professional attitude. Investigate ongoing changes of environmental systems and their possible challenges to society, contribute to find solutions and communicate them to the public is my main motivation for being a scientist.

 

Martin Knoll

 

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Contact:

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Martin Knoll

Department of History
University of Salzburg
Rudolfskai 42
A – 5020 Salzburg
Austria, Europe

E-mail: martin.knoll@sbg.ac.at
Fon: +43 – (0)662 – 8044 – 4781
Room No. 1038

Homepage: Martin Knoll am FB Geschichte

Research Interests
Holding a professorship for the history of European regions Martin Knoll has conducted research in the social ecology of early modern hunting, in city-hinterland relations, in the history of topographical literature and most recently in the field of regional change triggered by tourism. He is the author of a monograph on the perception of nature and society in early modern topographical literature (Die Natur der menschlichen Welt [transcript, 2013]). With Reinhold Reith he coedited An Environmental History of the Early Modern Period. Experiments and Perspectives (LIT, 2014).

 

Robert R. Junker

Robert R. Junker

Foto: Andreas Kolarik/Leo

Contact: 

robert.junker@sbg.ac.at

http://www.uni-salzburg.at/ecoevo/robert.junker

Functional Community Ecology

We investigate the structure and functional composition of diverse plant, animal and bacteria communities within ecosystems and along environmental gradients. We are particularly interested in how functional plant traits affect the behavior, distribution and diversity of insects and bacteria. Additionally, we track the functional responses of plant species and whole communities to global change components such as climate warming and the spread of invasive species. These approaches allow us to comprehensively evaluate the mechanisms underlying ecosystem processes and the vulnerability of ecosystem services.

Interactions between species naturally do not occur in isolation but are embedded in complex communities. Thus, the frequency and net effect of pair-wise interactions usually are modulated by other sympatric organisms that may alter the phenotype and/or the behavior of one or both interaction partners. To understand such multi-trophic interactions, we investigate how bacteria associated with plants affect ecosystem functions such as plant–pollinator or plant–herbivore interactions.

In studies in the lab and in the field (e.g. in the Austrian Alps and in Hawai’i), we analyze and manipulate the phenotype of plant species (e.g. scent emissions, coloration, morphology), examine interaction networks, reveal the composition and diversity of bacterial communities (e.g. next generation sequencing) and observe the behavior of animals as response to plant traits. In order to analyze the complex data gathered in these studies we apply and develop novel statistical tools to quantify the phylogenetic and functional diversity of communities and the niche size of species

 

Alpine related project: Functional responses of plant communities and plant-pollinator interactions to altitudinal gradients and climate change

Robert R. Junker & Martin Lechleitner

The year 2014 was globally the warmest since records started and thus represents the (provisional) peak of the general trend of global warming that is expected to continue, which has severe negative effects on biodiversity and ecosystem processes. In order to understand the causes and predict or even mitigate consequences of these impacts, it is mandatory to study present patterns of biodiversity and to quantify ecological responses of communities to environmental changes such as increasing temperatures. Spatial gradients such as those along mountain slopes as well as re-visitations of sites where historical vegetation surveys had been conducted represent powerful long-term and large-scale study systems to estimate effects of climate change on ecosystems. The diversity, characteristics, distribution, and relative abundance of functional plant traits in communities reveal information on community assembly and ecosystem functioning. In contrast to vegetative and life-history traits, such information remains largely unknown for flower traits despite their essential roles for important ecological processes such as sexual reproduction of plants and pollinator diversity. In the proposed study, the advantages of the altitudinal gradient of the Austrian Alps as well as historical vegetation surveys will be exploited to fill that important gap. The plant species present in communities located between 1500 and 2600 m a.s.l. will be phenotyped by a large set of vegetative but most importantly floral functional traits including the morphology, phenology, scent emissions and color. Additionally, the phylogenetic composition of the communities as well as the flower-visitor interactions will be considered. This extensive and comprehensive dataset will allow testing hypotheses on community assembly, the link between functional plant diversity and flower visitor diversity, and the functional responses of plant communities and interaction patterns to altitude and climate change. The anticipated results and conclusions will therefore provide a novel perspective on community ecology and assembly with implications for climate change and the vulnerability of natural ecosystems and the conservation of the alpine flora and fauna.

funded by FWF | Start: May 2016

Selected Publications:

Dynamic range boxes – A robust non-parametric approach to quantify size and overlap of n-dimensional hypervolumes. Junker RR, Kuppler J, Bathke AC, Schreyer ML, Trutschnig W (2016) Methods in Ecology and Evolution DOI: 10.1111/2041-210X.12611

Time-invariant differences between plant individuals in interactions with arthropods correlate with intraspecific variation in plant phenology, morphology and floral scent. Kuppler J, Höfers MK, Wiesmann L, Junker RR (2016) New Phytologist 210: 1357-1368

Experimental manipulation of floral scent bouquets restructures flower-visitor interactions in the field. Larue A-AC, Raguso RA, Junker RR (2016) Journal of Animal Ecology 85: 396-408

Microhabitat heterogeneity across leaves and flower organs promotes bacterial diversity. Junker RR, Keller A (2015) FEMS Microbiology Ecology 91: fiv097

Specialisation on traits as basis for the niche-breadth of flower visitors and as structuring mechanism of ecological networks. Junker RR, Blüthgen N, Brehm T, Binkenstein J, Paulus J, Schaefer HM, Stang M (2013) Functional Ecology, 27: 329-341

Anja Hoerger

collection_gangesAnja Hörger

Contact

Dr. Anja Hörger
University of Salzburg
Department of Ecology and Evolution
Hellbrunnerstr. 34
5020 Salzburg
Austria

Tel.:+43 662 8044-5501
Email: anja.hoerger@sbg.ac.at

www.uni-salzburg.at/ecoevo/anjahoerger
www.uni-salzburg.at/ecoevo

Research Interests

Plant-pathogen Coevolution
Our research aims to understand the genetic, evolutionary and ecological processes driving adaptation of plants to their biotic and abiotic environment. Thereby we focus specifically on plant-pathogen coevolution, that is the evolution of the plant immune system in response to changing pathogen (viruses, bacteria, fungi) populations, and investigate the impact of various environmental conditions (salt, drought, metalliferous soils) on these processes.

Deciphering this interplay of biotic and abiotic stress responses in plants is of importance to understanding the impact of climate change on species persistence and adaptation, in particular for species occurring in fragmented and/or anthropogenic habitats such as industrial, polluted sites. We therefore focus on naturally occurring plant populations, which cover diverse habitat ranges and/or grow in anthropogenically influenced habitats.

Our current main project investigates the role of heavy metals in plant disease resistance and the interplay between adaptation to abiotic stress imposed by heavy metals in the environment and pathogen resistance in plants accumulating heavy metals. Other research projects aim to investigate the impact of coevolution with bacterial and fungal pathogens on plant genome evolution using as model systems wild tomato species, which occur in mesic to arid conditions in South America.

To tackle these questions, we integrate different fields of biology and employ a diverse range of state-of-the-art experimental and bioinformatics approaches including population genetics/genomics, transcriptomics, experimental evolution, biochemical assays and plant-microbial bioassays. Students thus have the opportunity to acquire skills in various molecular, biochemical, computational and ecological techniques.

 

Selected publications

Shindo, T, Kaschani, F, Yang, F, Kovács, J, Tian, F, Kourelis, J, Hong, TN, Colby, T, Shabab, M, Chawla, R, Kumari, S, Ilyas, M, Hörger, AC, Alfano, JR, and Van der Hoorn, RAL (2016) Screen of non-annotated small secreted proteins of Pseudomonas syringae reveals a virulence factor that inhibits tomato immune proteases. PLoS Pathogens, 12(9):e1005874.

Ilyas, M, Hörger, AC, Bozkurt, TO, Van den Burg, HAm Kaschani, F, Kaiser, M, Belhaj, K, Smoker, M, Joosten, MHA, Kamoun, S, and Van der Hoorn, RAL (2015) Functional divergence of two secreted immune proteases of tomato. Current Biology, 25(17):2300-6.

Hörger AC*, Fones HN*, and Preston GM (2013) The current status of the elemental defense hypothesis in relation to pathogens. Frontiers in Plant Science, 4:395.

Hörger AC, and Van der Hoorn RAL (2013) The structural basis of specific protease–inhibitor interactions at the plant–pathogen interface, Current Opinion in Structural Biology, 23: 842-850.

Hörger AC, Ilyas M, Stephan W, Tellier A, Van der Hoorn RAL, and Rose LE (2012) Evolution of the tomato Rcr3 resistance gene family is driven by balancing selection for activation of the defence response. PLoS Genetics, 8(7): e1002813.

*These authors contributed equally.

Angela Hof

 

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Angela Hof

Contact:

Ass.-Prof. Dr. Angela Hof

Department of Geography and Geology
University of Salzburg
Hellbrunnerstr. 34
A – 5020 Salzburg
Austria, Europe

E-mail: angela.hof@sbg.ac.at
Fon: +43 – (0)662 – 8044 – 5233
Mobile: +43 (0)664 185 3011

Room No. A-3.006

Research Interests
I am a geographer with a research focus on integrated land system models in the interest of more detailed spatial analysis of human-environment interactions. In the field of Urban and Landscape Ecology, my research interests include environmental aspects of current urban development processes in Europe and spatially explicit analysis and modelling of urban systems. Recent research centers on Applied Geoinformatics for developing innovative methodological approaches to analyse urban water consumption, ecosystem services, and land use changes.

My main motivation for being a scientist and PhD supervisor lies in the conviction that university teaching and research is not about giving the answers – it is about discovering the questions.

 

Sylke Hilberg

Sylke Hilberg

Contact: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sylke Hilberg

Dept. Geography and Geology
University of Salzburg
5020 Salzburg
Hellbrunnerstraße 34/III

+43-662-8044-5465
sylke.hilberg@sbg.ac.at

www.uni-salzburg.at/geo/hilberg

 

 

Research Focus Environmental Geology :

Interactions between geogene and anthropogene processes are increasingly in the focus of environmental geology. Environmental sciences are becoming more and more important for the society. Thus, research – and, maybe of even greater importance – teaching of environmental geology is an upcoming task for geologists.

In detail my research focuses on:

  • hydrogeology in populated regions (e.g. drinking water supply and pollution in densely populated alpine valleys)
  • hard rock aquifers in the alpine environment with a special focus on natural tracers
  • didactics in environmental geology

Selected Papers:

Ulrike Unterbruner, Sylke Hilberg, Iris Schiffl (2016). Understanding “Groundwater” ‐ students´ preconceptions and conceptual change by a theory guided multimedia learning program. Hydrogeology and Earth System Sciences (HESS), 20, 2251-2266, DOI: 10.5194/hess-20-2251-2016.

Sylke Hilberg. Franz Riepler (2016). Interaction of various flow systems in small alpine catchments – a conceptual model of the upper Gurk valley aquifer, Carinthia, Austria.  Hydrogeology Journal, 24/5, 1231-1244DOI: 10.1007/s10040-016-1396-9.

Sylke Hilberg (2016). Review: Natural tracers in fractured hard rock aquifers in the Eastern Alps – previous approaches and future perspectives for hydrogeology in mountain regions.  Hydrogeology Journal,24/5, 1091-1105, DOI: 10.1007/s10040-016-1395-x

Sylke Hilberg (2015). Umweltgeologie – Eine Einführung in Grundlagen und Praxis. 245 S., Springer Spektrum, Heidelberg.

Sylke Hilberg, Jennifer Brandstätter, Daniel Glück (2013). CO2 partial pressure and calcite saturation in springs – useful data to identify recharge catchments in alpine hydrogeology. Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts, 2013, 15 (4), 823 – 832, DOI: 10.1039/C3EM30973H.