Applied and Trophic Ecology

Our work addresses the ecology of animals in natural and managed ecosystems and the role these organisms play in providing ecosystem services. We seek to understand mechanisms governing the structure and functioning of natural communities through integration of molecular techniques and stable isotope analysis with laboratory and field experiments. A major objective is the analysis of food web interactions. Current work explores, for example, food web structure and dynamics in pioneer communities within Alpine glacier forelands or how generalist predators respond to invasive earthworms. Other work addresses how plant diversity affects the dietary choices of soil-dwelling insect pests in Central Europe or whether the roots of exotic grasses sustain the larvae of endangered moths in Australia. DNA-based techniques also provide a powerful means to identify soil invertebrates, the basis to answer questions on biodiversity/species-identity effects for soil formation or plant protection. Our research is embedded in collaborative projects with scientists from several European countries, the USA, Chile, Peru, Nepal and Australia.



Group members


MSc Students

Kathrin Egger, Nina Egger, Stephanie Eisenkölbl, Timo Förster, Katharina Griesbach-Hobbach, Nina Horngacher, Marco Köb, Bernd Mall, Lena Manzl, Romina Reinpold, Carina Schieder, Sandra Sequani, Kristina Wild

Previous lab members and guest researchers


University Course on Molecular Analysis of Trophic Interactions (MATI)

video of our research -> watch now!

Theses opportunities




Food Web Designer

Sint & Traugott 2015. JPS. Doi: 10.1007/s10340-015-0686-7  
Food Web Designer 3.0


DNA Calculator

Sint et al. 2012. MEE. Doi: 10.1111/j.2041-210X.2012.00215.x  
DNA calculator

Our 5 latest papers

Oehm, J., Thalinger, B., Mayr, H., Traugott, M. (2015) Maximising dietary information retrievable from carcasses of Great Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo using a combined morphological and molecular analytical approach. IBIS. 10.1111/ibi.12337  

Wallinger, C., Sint, D., Baier, F., Schmid, C., Mayer, R., Traugott, M. (2015) Detection of seed DNA in regurgitates of granivorous carabid beetles. Bulletin of Entomological Research.

Sint D, Traugott M (2015) Food Web Designer: a flexible tool to visualize interaction networks. Journal of Pest Science. DOI 10.1007/s10340-015-0686-7  

Staudacher K, Jonsson M, Traugott M (2015) Diagnostic PCR assays to unravel food web interactions in cereal crops with focus on biological control of aphids. Journal of Pest Science. DOI 10.1007/s10340-015-0685-8  

Roubinet E., Straub C.S., Jonsson T., Staudacher K., Traugott M., Ekbom B. & Jonsson M. (2015): Additive effects of predator diversity on pest control caused by few interactions among predator species. Ecological Entomology, 40, 362–371.  

Complete list of publications


Active Projects

Previous projects