Ecology – Current and future challenges


Human activities lead to substantial changes in ecosystems around the globe. Reasons for changes range from direct short-term influences (e.g. building of infrastructures) to indirect and long-term trends (e.g. land-use changes). Changes occurred in the past, many are obvious in the present and they will occur in the future, whereby climate change is a main driver. Knowledge of ecosystem processes and functions are a prerequisite for an understanding of current and future challenges. This course teaches basics of ecology and nature conservation and then focuses exemplarily on aquatic and forest ecosystems.

Our offers:

  Increase your knowledge of ecology

  Get insights into current and future challenges

  Get insights into aquatic ecosystems

  Get insights into forest ecosystems


Special lecture features:

  Experts from limnology and plant ecophysiology

  Lectures, Excursions and Discussions


Block 1 - Introduction

23.04.2020 16:00-17:00; Prof. Stefan Mayr

Block 2 - Ecology Basics

30.04.2020 16:00-17:30; Prof. Stefan Mayr




This lecture gives an introduction into ecological concepts, methods, structures, processes and functions of ecosystems. Examples for short- and long-term changes and their consequences are discussed.





Block 3 - Nature conservation

07.05.2020 16:00-17:30; Prof. Leopold Füreder

This lecture summarises nature conservation activities at various levels and presents underlying concepts as well as limitations. Examples from different fields will be:

Aquatic systems/Limnology

Block 4 - Forest systems

14.05.2020 16:00-17:30; Prof. Stefan Mayr




This lecture gives insights into forest types and functions with a focus on alpine forest systems. Forest management strategies and respective challenges are discussed. We will also deal with expected effects of climate change as well as the role of forest systems for climatic factors.


Block 5 - Freshwater systems

14.05.2020 16:00-17:30; Prof. Leopold Füreder

Freshwaters are among the most threatened ecosystems. In this lecture an overview on the different types of running and standing waters is provided, particularly (i) in demonstrating type-specific ecosystem structure and function, (ii) in explaining cause-effect relationships of environmental (climate) change issues, and (iii) in exemplarily depicting restoration measures for sustainable ecosystem integrity.   

Excursion 1 - Forest Systems

Date to be discussed with Students; Prof. Stefan Mayr



This excursion will start at Zirl. We will walk through a Pinus sylvestris forest in the Naturpark Karwendel to a quarry (“Steinbruch Plattner”), a site intensively used by humans. We will e.g. see drought induced forest dieback, sites affected by invasive species, afforestation challenges and discuss tree physiological aspects, forest functions, use conflicts etc.


Excursion 2 - Aquatic systems/Limnology

Date to be discussed with students; Prof. Leopold Füreder

A serious number of hydropower stations have degraded the ecological connectivity of the river Inn. With the implementation of the EU - Water Framework Directive, the longitudinal connectivity has to be restored for a better bedload and solid transport as well as the unhindered mobility of organisms, like fish. This aspect will be demonstrated at the Inn meander Kirchbichl.   



25.06.2020, 15:00-18:00; Prof. Stefan Mayr, Prof. Leopold Füreder

In the last part of the course, student groups will give short presentations on (selected by themselves) topics related to lectures or excursions and we will discuss the outcomes.


Please find further details and lecture rooms @ LFU:online   





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