Meet an Ecology PhD-student: Georg Niedrist

Georg Niedrist focuses among other topics on running waters in high altitudes and latitudes.

How to secure food in harsh stream ecosystems?

Georg Niedrist is a PhD-candidate and a member of the group River and Conservation Research headed by Leopold Füreder, which focuses among other topics on running waters in high altitudes and latitudes ( Within this thematic framework, Georg’s research concentrates on alpine streams and the benthic invertebrate species, their trophic relationships and potential alterations due to environmental change.

Glacial retreat leads to considerable hydrological shifts in most alpine streams. While the resulting alterations in the community structures in such habitats have been elaborated deeply within several research activities of Füreder’s group, potential shifts of ecological functions and trophic relationships of benthic invertebrate species remained mostly unknown.

In his current PhD-projects, funded by the Nationalpark Hohe Tauern, the TWF and the D. Swarovski KG, Georg wants to shed light on the trophic strategies and adaptations of the most important secondary producers in alpine streams, which allow the species to persist in these harsh environments. He will simulate the effect of decreasing glacial influence on the characteristics of trophic relationships between predominant consumers (larvae of the dipteran family of Chironomidae) and primary producers in alpine streams. The methodology involves traditional (gut content) and innovative (C and N stable isotopes) analyses with the employment of novel mixing and ecological modelling. Georg combines laboratory work with extensive fieldwork in the great environment of the Nationalpark Hohe Tauern, wherein the project Monitoring Alpine Rivers (PI Leopold Füreder) he is an active researcher since 2009.

Besides his PhD-study, Georg, in his role as the Vice-President of SIL-Austria and National Representative of the SIL International (Societas Internationalis Limnologiae), tries to connect young limnologists and their research in and around the European Alps.


Georg Niedrist MSc.
University of Innsbruck
Institute of Ecology
River and Conservation Research

Phone: +43 (0)512 507 51742


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