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The influence of climate warming on microbial communities and processes in alpine soils

Some results of the project Soil microbial community dynamics and biogeochemical cycles under global change: effects of climate and vegetation change in alpine ecosystems from Obergurgl and Vent

An international team of researchers headed by Michael Bahn (University of Innsbruck, Department of Ecology) and Richard Bardgett (The University of Manchester) are currently investigating potential effects of climate change on soil microbes in alpine environments. On study sites in the inner Ötz valley they manipulated snow heights and snow cover duration. Some first results from the project, funded by the National Environment Research Council of the UK, was recently published in the ISME Journal and has been featured in the magazine ‘wissenswert’ and the newsroom of the University of Innsbruck.



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Climate warming affects oxygen concentrations and thermal habitats in lakes

Results of international study with contributions of Ruben Sommaruga (Department of Ecology) published in Nature and Nature Climate Change 

Recent climate change has a significant impact on lakes. Water temperature increase leads to shifts in thermal habitats and to a decrease of oxygen concentration resulting in the emergence of dead zones. This was revealed in an international study in which Ruben Sommaruga (Department of Ecology) participated and data of Lake Piburg was incorporated in the analysis. Detailed results of the study were published in Nature and Nature Climate Change and furhter information can be found in the "Newsroom" of the University of Innsbruck here and here.


Analysis of lake mud sheds light on cause of prehistoric rockslides

A new publication in Nature Communications on analysis of sediment cores of Lake Piburg and Lake Plansee 

Scientists of the Department of Geology of the University of Innsbruck analysed the sediment on the bottom of Lake Piburg and Lake Plansee to reveal the cause of prehistoric rockslides.

Further Information and the results of this study can be found in this item in the  “Newsroom” webpage of the University of Innsbruck and in the publication in Nature Communications which can also be found in our literature database.


Finger­print for the for­ma­tion of nit­rous oxide emis­sions

A new publication in Science Advances on study of nitrous oxide at Kaserstattalm

Scientists led by Eliza Harris from the Institute of Ecology have succeeded in studying emissions of the greenhouse gas N2O under the influence of environmental impacts in an unprecedented level of detail. This study is also a starting point for the creation of models that could predict future trends in the greenhouse gas emission dynamics of ecosystems under global climate Change.

More information on this research can be found in this item in the “Newsroom” webpage of the University of Innsbruck. A link to the publication in Science Advances can be found in the literature database here.


Politon-like viruses found in Lake Gossenkölle

A new publication in Microbiome reveals latest findings in lake Gossenkölle.

Christopher Bellas and Ruben Sommaruga from the Department of Ecology found 82 new species of so called politon-like viruses in Lake Gossenkölle by analysing DNA in water samples. This discovery increased the number of known polinton-like viruses by 25-fold. More information on this research can be found in this item in the “Newsroom” of the webpage of the University of Innsbruck. A link to the publication in Microbiome can be found in the literature database here.



Mosses and Liverworts of Tyrol - Especially those connected to the Iceman


Wolfgang K. Hofbauer, James H. Dickson
Alpine Forschungsstelle Obergurgl - volume 5
ISBN 978-3-903187-84-9
236 pages, including colour illustrations and maps
2020, innsbruck university press • iup
price: 29,90 Euro

The fifth book within the series "Lebensräume im inneren Ötztal" (environments of the inner Ötztal) is focussed on bryophytes, a species group often ignored although occurring nearly everywhere in the Alps. This book comprises an impressive number of more than 500 bryophytes from the valleys of the Austrian and South Tyrolean Central Alps (mainly Ötztal Alps). They resulted from collections along altitudinal gradients from the valley bottom up to more than 3000 m a.s.l.

Wolfgang K. Hofbauer and James H. Dickson, two outstanding bryophyte experts, are responsible for the documentation and determination.

James H. Dickson was involved in the research boom, started after the discovery of the Iceman (Ötzi) in 1991 at the border between Austria and Italy. An incredible number of bryophyte fragments was found at and in the corpse of the Iceman, at his gear and clothing and in the sediment of the discovery place. 68 subfossile bryophyte species were identified to species level by James H. Dickson and they are now listed in this book.

Stimulated by the questions arising from the diversity of "Iceman bryophytes", Wolfgang K. Hofbauer and James H. Dickson started a long-term investigation, studying transects along the valleys north and south of the Iceman discovery place. In total, 200 plots of 1 km² were examined over a period of more than two decades. The results of this comprehensive bryological mapping are presented in this book. For some selected species, distribution maps are shown. For all species of the recent bryoflora, the altitudinal ranges are provided as well as the uppermost known occurrence. These informations can be regarded as basic data for future bryological research of climate change effects in the investigation area.

This is the first book of this series published completely in English language.

The book is available at Innsbruck university press here and chapters of the book are free for download here.


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