Lake and Glacier Ecology Research Group

Our main research focus is on the ecology of (sub-) alpine lakes and glaciers within the context of global change. This focus is well integrated within the Interdisciplinary Research Center Ecology of the Alpine Region at the University of Innsbruck.

Our group consists of experts in biogeochemistry, microbial and zooplankton ecology, paleolimnology, hydrology, and photobiology. We work mainly in the Alps, but also in other mountain regions such as the Himalayas, Andes, as well as in Polar regions. The remoteness of those ecosystems makes them prime study objects to address topics related to the impact of climate change and atmospheric deposition.

Our approach is multidisciplinary and includes field and laboratory studies ranging from individual molecules to molecular characterization of diverse communities of organisms considering physical and chemical aspects, as well as catchment characteristics.

Bildleiste Limnologie 2


Group Members
 

  • Ruben Sommaruga Dr.,  Full Professor (Head)  
    Expertise: Plankton Ecology, Photobiology, Biogeochemistry
  • Roland Psenner, Dr. Full Professor
  • Birgit Sattler Dr. Priv.-Doz., Research Associate
    Expertise:  Microbial Ecology
  • Albin Alfreider Dr., Research Assistant
    Expertise: Microbial Ecology
  • Karin Anne Koinig Dr., Research Assistant
    Expertise: Paleolimnology, Biogeochemistry
  • Barbara Tartarotti-Alfreider Dr., Research Assistant
    Expertise: Zooplankton Ecology, Photobiology
  • Monika Summerer Dr., Senior Scientist
  • Elena Ilyashuk Dr., Post-doc Associate
    Expertise: Paleoelimnology
  • Boris P. Ilyashuk Dr., Post-doc Associate
    Expertise: Neo- & Palaeolimnology
  • Christopher Bellas Dr., Post-doc Associate 
  • Tobias Schneider, Dr., Post-doc Associate
  • Elias Dechent (Technician)
    Supervision area: Water chemistry lab (ion analyzer, autoanalyzer, spectrophotometer)
  • Gry Larsen (Technician)
    Supervision area: Water chemistry lab (DOC, CHN, safety)
  • Salvador Morales-Gómez MSc (Technician)
    Supervision area: Microscopy and Flow cytometry

         
PhD and MSc Students
 

  • Nora Els MSc (PhD student)
  • Pablo Manuel Aguilar Espinosa (PhD student)
  • Sabrina Obwegeser MSc (PhD student)
  • Klemens Weisleitner MSc. (PhD Student)
  • Daniel Eisendle (Master Student): Population dynamics and trophic links of an alpine fish population
  • Myriam Zocchi (Master student): Distribution in the environment of microplastic and combined ecological effects with pesticides
  • Paul Benjamin (Master Student): Effect of glacial meltwaters on nutrient dynamics and its effect on bacterial production
  • Daniel Gattinger (Master Student): Effect of antibiotics on ice habitats

 
Recent group members

Josef Franzoi (retired)
Pérez Medievilla María Teresa Dr.
Hannes Peter Dr., Post-doc Associate
Carina Rofner PhD

Our research in covers
Aquatic Ecology FB JPlR Nature Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences planktonecology032011_klein
Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences 3
Current and Recent Projects

2017-2019

VIRALP - Virus-host relationships in an alpine lake (Austrian Science Fund, Meitner Programme, Co-PI: R. Sommaruga)

2015-2020

Palaeothermometry of the Middle Würmian (MIS 3) in the Eastern Alps (Austrian Science Fund, FWF P28469, PI: E. Ilyashuk)

2015-2019

MicroArctic - Microorganisms in Warming Arctic Environments (EU-Horizon 2020, Marie Curie Actions – Innovative Training Networks ITN, PI: B. Sattler)

2015-2018

Palaeothermometry of the Middle Würmian (MIS 3) in the Eastern Alps (Austrian Science Fund, PI: E. Ilyashuk)

2015-2018

Ice and Life in Alpine and Polar Regions (TAWANI-Foundation, PI: B. Sattler)

2015-2017

From myth to reason – Population structure and spawning areas of tropical eels (Anguilla marmorata, A. megastoma, A. obscura) in the western South Pacific (Austrian Science Fund, PI: R. Schabetsberger, Universität Salzburg, Co-PI: R. Sommaruga)

2015

Fischökologische Untersuchung im oligotrophen hochalpinen Gossenköllesee - Genotypisierung, Populationscharakterisierung und Nahrungsspektrum der Bachforelle (TIWAG, PI: R. Sommaruga)

2014-2016

COVER.UP – Abdeckung von Gletschern mit Industrievlies zur Reduktion der Schmelze: Wirtschaftlicher Segen oder ökologischer Fluch? Eine gesellschaftspolitisch-wissenschaftliche Symbiose.  (BM.W_F, Sparkling Science, PI: B. Sattler)

2013-2016

BIO.CRYO - Biological Processes in the Cryosphere (TAWANI-Foundation, PI: B. Sattler)

2013-2018

Chemolithoautotrophic carbon dioxide fixation in lakes (Austrian Science Fund, FWF P25703, PI: A. Alfreider)

2012-2017

UV stress in alpine lakes: hsp gene expression in copepods (Austrian Science Fund, FWF V233 Elise-Richter Program). PI: Barbara Tartarotti.

2012-2016

Back to the origin: Consequences of glacier retreat for the structure and function of alpine lakes (BACK-ALP). Austrian Science Fund, FWF P24442, PI: R.Sommaruga.

2012-2015

Role of different bacterial groups in the biogeochemical cycle of phosphorus in mountain lakes. (Austrian Science Fund, FWF P24098). PI: Maria T. Pérez, R. Sommaruga.

2012-2015

Climate-driven shifts in permafrost melting and ecotoxicological consequences during the Holocene: chironomid-based reconstructions from periglacial environments in the Eastern Alps. Austrian Science Fund (FWF M1337), Abstract, PI: Boris Ilyashuk.     Abstract

2011-2014

NICKEL CONTROL: Natural or anthropogenic CONTROL of NICKEL increase in alpine headwaters, Autonomous Province Bozen, Support for high schools, universities and resarch, Abstract, PI: Karin Koinig.       Abstract

2011-2013

Lake Lander: Impact of glacial melt on past and present lakes. NASA-ASTEP. N. Cabrol (USA, PI), R. Sommaruga (Co-PI)

2010-2014

2010-2014: INTIMATE (COST Action ES0907): INTegrating Ice core, MArine, and TErrestrial records, Management Commitee: Karin Koinig, Christoph Spötl.   
http://cost-es0907.geoenvi.org/

2010-2013

MELTING: Impact of MELTING permafrost and rock glaciers on water quality and aquatic organisms in alpine lakes, Austrian Academy of Sciences - Alpine programme, Abstract, PI: Karin Koinig.        Abstract

2010-2012

Climate-driven alterations in biodiversity and functioning of high alpine lakes in the Tyrolean Alps over the past millennium. Austrian Academy of Sciences – Global Change Programme, Abstract, PI: Elena Ilyashuk. http://cost-es0907.geoenvi.org/

2009-2012

Ultraviolet radiation effects on planktonic freshwater ciliates: an assessment of photoprotection and repair strategies” (Austrian Science Fund, FWF P21013-B03). PI: Sonntag Bettina. 

2008-2012

NSINK: Sources, sinks and impacts of atmospheric nitrogen deposition in the Arctic, WP5: Aquatic Ecosystems and Palaeolimnology (Abstract), FP7-People ITN-2007.1.1, ENV.215503, PIs: Karin Koinig, Birgit Sattler, Roland Psenner.    NSINK     Summary

2007-2011

Cascading effects of climate change and UV radiation on the nutritional quality of the food base in marine ecosystems. Norwegian Research Council, Proj. Nr. 178731/S40. Cooperation project with H. I. Browman (Norway, PI), M.T. Arts (Canada, PI) and P. Kuhn (Co-PI).

2007-2009

Holocene Climatic and Limnological Changes: Chironomid-Based Reconstruction from a Remote High Alpine Lake (Tyrol, Austria). Austrian Science Fund (FWF M 964-N10), PI: Elena Ilyashuk. Summary

2007-2008

Load and viability of bacteria associated to airborne particles and effect of ultraviolet radiation on their composition. Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Culture (bm:bwk, ÖAD), Proj. Nr. 16/2007. PI: R Sommaruga

2006-2011

Community structure and function of heterotrophic bacteria in alpine lakes: atmosphere and catchments linkages (Austrian Science Foundation, FWF P19245-B03, R. Sommaruga PI).

2006-2007

Diversity of microbial communities in remote alpine lakes of the Alps and Himalaya. Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Culture (bm:bwk, ÖAD), Proj. Nr. 16/2006. Pi: R. Sommaruga

2004-2010

Holocene Climate Change Reflected in a Remote High Alpine Lake, A Multiproxy Investigation of the Sediment Record, (FWF R 29N10; 2003, continued 2005 – 2010), PI: Karin Koinig.
Summary

2004-2007

Autotrophic bacteria in groundwater systems (Austrian Science Fund, FWF P17649, PI: A. Alfreider)

2004-2007

Characterization of the underwater UV climate in lakes from the Mt. Everest Region and assessment of DNA damage levels and counteractive mechanisms (photorepair and photoprotection) in planktonic organisms (K2-Ev-CNR Committee, Italy and Svarowsky Foundation-Univ. of Innsbruck). PI: Ruben Sommaruga

2003-2007

Testing alternative benefits in symbiosis of pelagic Chlorella-bearing freshwater ciliates: an ecological and molecular approach (Austrian Science Foundation, FWF 16559-B06). PI: R. Sommaruga

2004-2006

Climate warming impact on alpine’s lake bacterioplankton community structure and specific activity (Austrian Science Foundation, FWF M788 B06). PI: Maria T. Pérez,  CoPI: R. Sommaruga