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

Sandra Cupic, Kathrin Egger, Nina Egger, Britta Frei, Marco Köb, 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

Sint, D., Sporleder, M., Wallinger, C., Zegarra, O., Oehm, J., Dangi, N., Giri, Y.P., Kroschel, J. & Traugott, M. (2016) A two-dimensional pooling approach towards efficient detection of parasitoid and pathogen DNA at low infestation rates. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 7, 1548-1557. Link

Tiede J., Wemheuer B., Traugott M., Daniel R., Tscharntke T., Ebeling A. & Scherber C. (2016) Trophic and Non-Trophic Interactions in a Biodiversity Experiment Assessed by Next- Generation Sequencing. PlosOne 11(2): e0148781.   

Oehm J., Thalinger B., Mayr H., Traugott M. (2016) Maximising dietary information retrievable from carcasses of Great Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo using a combined morphological and molecular analytical approach. IBIS, 158, 51 - 60.   

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, 105, 728 - 735.   

Sint D., Traugott M. (2016) Food Web Designer: a flexible tool to visualize interaction networks. Journal of Pest Science. 89, 1 - 5.    

Complete list of publications

Active Projects
Previous projects