GURTEN Sabrina, MSc

Sabrina Gurten

University of Innsbruck
Department of Zoology

Research Group: Applied Animal Ecology

Technikerstrasse 25
A-6020 Innsbruck

Sabrina is an ecologist highly passionate about (wild) bees.

After her Bachelor's degree at the University of Basel (CH), Sabrina moved to Innsbruck (AT) where she started a Master's degree in (Molecular) Ecology & Biodiversity with a focus on alpine ecosystems. Her thesis was part of the INTERREG-A-project «protectAlps». In this framework, Sabrina investigated the effects of persistent organic pollutants containing harmful substances, such as flame retardants and chemical pesticides, on alpine bumblebees. The results impressively showed that even the most remote places in the Alps can be massively polluted and that these pollutants are thus another possible reason for the ongoing insect decline (see Link).

Currently, Sabrina is doing her PhD at the Research Unit for Applied Animal Ecology (University of Innsbruck, AT) after 1.5 years of research at the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL CH) in Switzerland. Her PhD thesis is mainly focused on the study of pollinators in Swiss and Austrian agroecosystems. Her goal is to establish a non-invasive assessment method using environmental DNA (eDNA) to track changes in complex insect networks. A deeper understanding of such interaction networks will help to develop locally adapted management methods (e.g., via flowering strips), which will ultimately aid in reducing (food) competition between managed (honey) bees and native wild bees. Her overall vision in this project is to contribute to a more sustainable agriculture by promoting existing biodiversity.

Research Interests
  • Pollinator-Plant Interactions
  • Wild bees & Honeybees
  • Competition
  • Environmental DNA
  • Agroecology
  • (Functional) Agrobiodiversity
  • Entomology
  • Conservation Biology
  • Molecular Ecology
Current projects

Lucek, K., Galli, A., Gurten, S., Hohmann, N., Maccagni, A.,Patsiou, T. & Willi Y. (2019): Metabarcoding of honey to assess differences in plant-pollinator interactions between urban and non-urban sites. Apidology, 317-329. DOI: 10.1007/s13592-019-00646-3

Hierlmeier*, V. R., Gurten*, S., Freier, K. P., Schlick-Steiner, B. C. & Steiner, F. M. (2022): Persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic chemicals in insects: Current state of research and where to from here? Science of the Total Environment. Volume 825, 2022,153830, ISSN 0048-9697. DOI: 10.1016/ j.scitotenv.2022.153830

Hierlmeier-Hackl*, V.R., Gurten*, S., Freier, K.P., Schlick-Steiner, B.C., Steiner, F.M. (2022): Reply to Letter to the Editor: Huang, M., 2022: Comments on "Persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic chemicals in insects: Current state of research and where to from here?". Science of the Total Environment. Volume 838, 2022, 155624, and Corrigendum. Science of the Total Environment. 2022 Nov 25;849:157812.DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.157812.

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