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

Dominik Kirschner, Diane Neu, Yannick Pütz, Romina Reinpold, Christine Rossetti, Claire Rotondo, Christina Siegl, Bianca Spitzl, Harald Trager


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

Ye Z., Vollhardt I.M.G, Parth N., Rubbmark O. & Traugott M. (2018): Facultative bacterial endosymbionts shape parasitoid food webs in natural host populations: a correlative analysis. Journal of Animal Ecology, 87:1440–1451.   

Thalinger B., Sint D., Zeisler C., Kirschner D., Schwarzenberger R., Moritz C. & Traugott M. (2018): Quantification of fish populations using eDNA in alpine streams. Wasserwirtschaft 2-3, 30-34.

Steinwandter M., Rief A., Scheu S., Traugott M. & Seeber J. (2018): Structural and functional characteristics of high alpine soil macro-invertebrate communities. European Journal of Soil Biology 86, 72–80.

Roubinet, E.; Jonsson, T.; Malsher, G.; Staudacher, K.; Traugott, M.; Ekbom, B.; Jonsson, M. (2018): High Redundancy as well as Complementary Prey Choice Characterize Generalist Predator Food Webs in Agroecosystems. Scientific Reports.  

Staudacher K., Rennstam Rubbmark O., Birkhofer K., Malsher G., Sint D., Jonsson M. & Traugott M. (2018): Habitat heterogeneity induces rapid changes in the feeding behaviour of generalist arthropod predators. Functional Ecology 32: 809-819.  



Complete list of publications

Active Projects
Previous projects
Nach oben scrollen