University of Innsbruck

Research Group
Biodiversity

Our group focuses on different levels of biodiversity in mountain ranges. Alongside studying the spatiotemporal evolution and diversification of plants in the Alps and other regions both at the intraspecific and at the interspecific levels, we address the effects of climate and land use change at the level of individuals, populations, and plant communities.

Our research relies on data derived from molecular genetics and genomics, flow cytometry and morphometry as well as experimental and observational field research, population and vegetation ecology. The overarching goal is to reconstruct the origin and to understand the make-up of the high biodiversity of mountain areas.

conducting vegetation plots for the GLORIA project at 3420 m in the Central Alps, South Tyrol.

Conducting vegetation plots for the GLORIA project at 3420 m in the Central Alps, South Tyrol.

Flowering Impatiens glandulifera

Impatiens glandulifera, invasive plant species

Processing the extracted plant DNA in the laboratory

Processing the extracted plant DNA in the laboratory

Main research topics

  • Intraspecific diversification (phylogeography) and microevolution (speciation processes)

  • Biogeography of different biomes (e.g., mountains, steppes, forests)

  • Systematics and taxonomy of various flowering plant groups

  • Impact and management of alien plants (neophytes)

  • Vegetation dynamics and monitoring of global change effects


Research group leader

Peter Schönswetter

Members

Administrative and technical staff

  • Cäcilia Lechner-Pagitz
  • Marianne Magauer
  • Barbara Pernfuß
  • Daniela Pirkebner

Student employees

  • Span Gabriel

Emeriti and retired staff

  • Brigitta Erschbamer
  • Georg Gärtner
  • Eugen Rott

Research Assistants

  • Philipp Kirschner
  • Mar Unzeta Lloret
  • Vera Margreiter

Graduate students

  • Valentin Heimer
  • Clemens Maylandt
  • Špela Pungaršek
  • Teresa Zeni

Master and diploma students

  • Laura Bonet Pizarro
  • Sarah Brach
  • Jonas Geurden
  • Magdalena Haidegger
  • Elias Nitz