Alpine Research Station Obergurgl

The Alpine Research Station Obergurgl was founded in 1951 and has a long research tradition in various disciplines. There is extensive monitoring infrastructure installed on various locations in the area south of Obergurgl, covering an altitudinal gradient of 1,900 to 2,800 m a.s.l. This infrastructure contains 2 weather stations in the Rotmoos valley, 11 smaller stations measuring air and soil temperature and humidity as well as 20 monitoring locations for long-term vegetation and arthropod fauna survey. In the Rotmoos stream, water level and conductivity is monitored.

At the University Center Obergurgl, a weather station of the Austrian federal Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG), a pollen trap, a GPS receiver and various other measuring equipment of federal institutions are installed.

The University Centre Obergurgl is accommodating scientists, students and visitors for conferences and courses but also houses research infrastructure. Besides rooms for overnight stays and a dining hall, there is a lecture hall and seminar rooms, a small laboratory and a library. Seminar rooms are equipped with microscopes and a herbarium and there is working and safety equipment for field trips.

Long-term research projects in Obergurgl focus on the vegetation changes over time under grazing exclusion, successional patterns of flora and fauna in a glacier foreland as well as the rock glacier in the äußerem Hochebenkar and its runoff.

In recent projects, researchers examine socioeconomic interrelations between agriculture and tourism, the influence of climate change on microbial communities of alpine soils and much more.

The Alpine Research Station Obergurgl is running the LTER (Long-Term Ecosystem Research) site Obergurgl which is part of the LTSER platform Tyrolean Alps.


Recent Projects

  • HARTMANN J., SILBERNAGL L., SCHNEEWEISS G. M., BARFUSS M. H. J., WEISS-SCHNEEWEISS H. & SCHÖNSWETTER P. (2021): Euphrasia ultima, a new locally endemic diploid species from the Ortler/Ortles range (Italy), is a close relative of widespread allotetraploid E. minima. Plant Biosystems - An International Journal Dealing with all Aspects of Plant Biology, DOI: 10.1080/11263504.2021.1947409
  • BARDGETT, R.; BAHN, M.; GRIFFITHS, R.; SCHLOTER, M.: Soil microbial community dynamics and biogeochemical cycles under global change: effects of climate and vegetation change in alpine ecosystems. NERC - Natural Environment Research Council
  • PAGITZ, K.; ERSCHBAMER, B.; MARGREITER, V.: The Alpine Plant Conservation & Research Programme, Europe. Internationales Kooperationsprojekt, David & Claudia Harding Foundation, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
  • PEINTNER, U.: MICINSNOW – Microbial interactions in snow-covered habitats. Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (FWF)
  • STOTTEN, R.; LEITINGER, G.: RESULT – RESilience through synergies between agricULTure and tourism. Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften (ÖAW)

Recent publications

  • KAUFMANN R., MAYER R., SCHALLHART N. & ERSCHBAMER B. (2021): Effects of Climate Change vs. Grazing Exclusion on Species Diversity Over 18 Years Along an Elevation Gradient in the European Alps. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 9, Article 640103,
  • SCHATZ H. (2021): A new species of Brachychthoniidae (Acari: Oribatida) from the Eastern Central Alps (Austria, Tyrol), with the proposal of a new genus. Acarologia 61(2): 365-379; DOI 10.24349/acarologia/20214436
  • BROADBENT A. A. D., SNELL H. S. K., MICHAS A., PRITCHARD W. J., NEWBOLD L., CORDERO I., GOODALL T., SCHALLHART N., KAUFMANN R., GRIFFITHS R. I., SCHLOTER M., BAHN M. & BARDGETT R. D. (2021): Climate change alters temporal dynamics of alpine soil microbial functioning and biogeochemical cycling via earlier snowmelt. The ISME Journal,   
  • STOTTEN R., SCHERMER M. & WILSON G. A. (2021): Lock-ins and community resilience: Two contrasting development pathways in the Austrian Alps. Journal of Rural Studies 84, 124–133,
  • TELAGATHOTI A., PROBST M., KHOMENKO I., BIASIOLI F. & PEINTNER U. (2021): High-Throughput Volatilome Fingerprint Using PTR–ToF–MS Shows Species-Specific Patterns in Mortierella and Closely Related Genera. J. Fungi 7:66,
  • TELAGATHOTI A., PROBST M. & PEINTNER U. (2021): Habitat, snow-cover and soil pH, affect the distribution and diversity of Mortierellaceae species and their associations to bacteria. Frontiers in Microbiology 12,
  • ULRICH V., WILLIAMS J. G., ZAHS V., ANDERS K., HECHT S. & HÖFLE B. (2021): Measurement of rock glacier surface change over different timescales using terrestrial laser scanning Point clouds. Earth Surf. Dynam. 9, 19–28,
  • WILLIAMS J. G., ANDERS K., WINIWARTER L., ZAHS V. & HÖFLE B. (2021): Multi-directional change detection between point clouds. ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 172, 95–113, 
  • AIGNER S., GLASER K., ARC E., HOLZINGER A., SCHLETTER M., KARSTEN U. & KRANNER I. (2020): Adaptation to aquatic and terrestrial environments in Chlorella vulgaris (Chlorophyta). Front. Microbiol. 11, 585836,
  • BASTL K., BASTL M., DIRR L., BERGER M. & BERGER U. (2020): Frequency and distribution of insect pollinated pollen in air samples of Hirst-type volumetric pollen and spore traps in Austria from 2008 to 2017. Grana 59,
  • BAUMEISTER A. (2020): Einsatz von Kartierungsarbeiten in der Exkursionsdidaktik: Selbständige Erarbeitung landschaftsgenetischer Prozesse. In: SECKELMANN A. & HOF A. (Hrsg.): Exkursionen und Exkursionsdidaktik in der Hochschullehre. Springer-Verlag GmbH Deutschland, ein Teil von Springer Nature 2020,
  • ERSCHBAMER B. & BURGA C.A. (2020): Pflanzen besiedeln neue Lebensräume: Primärsukzession auf Gletschervorfeldern. In: LOZÁN J.L., BRECKLE S.-W., ESCHER-VETTER H., GRASSL H., KASANG D., PAUL F., SCHICKOFF U.: Warnsignal Klima: Hochgebirge im Wandel. Hamburg: Verlag Wissenschaftliche Auswertungen, ISBN 978-3-9820067-3-4, S. 252–256
  • HÅGVAR S., GOBBI M., KAUFMANN R., INGIMARSDÓTTIR M., CACCIANIGA M., VALLE B., PANTINI P., FANCIULLI P.P. & VATER A. (2020): Ecosystem Birth near Melting Glaciers: A Review on the Pioneer Role of Ground-Dwelling Arthropods. Insects, 11(9),
  • HARTMANN A., GLASER K., HOLZINGER A., GANZERA M. & KARSTEN U. (2020): Klebsormidin A and B, two new UV-sunscreen compounds in green microalgal Interfilum and Klebsormidium species (Streptophyta) from terrestrial habitats. Front. Microbiol., 11(499),
  • HOFBAUER W.K. & DICKSON J.H. (2020): Mosses and Liverworts of Tyrol - Especially those connected to the Iceman. (SCHALLHART N., ERSCHBAMER B. eds.), Alpine Forschungsstelle Obergurgl - Band 5, innsbruck university press • iup ISBN 978-3-903187-84-9
  • HUBER L., SCHIRPKE U., MARSONER T., TASSER E. & LEITINGER G. (2020): Does socioeconomic diversification enhance multifunctionality of mountain landscapes? Ecosystem Services 44, No. 101122,
  • MARGREITER V., PAGITZ K., BERG C., SCHWAGER P. & ERSCHBAMER B. (2020): Pros and cons of using a standard protocol to test germination of alpine species. Plant Ecology 221:11, 1045–1067,
  • ROSBAKH S., MARGREITER V. & JELCIC B. (2020): Seedlings of alpine species do not have better frost-tolerance than their lowland counterparts. Alpine Botany 130/2, 179–185, http:​/​/​/10.1007​/s00035-020-00237-4
  • RUTZINGER M., ANDERS K., BREMER M., HÖFLE B., LINDENBERGH R., OUDE ELBERINK S., PIROTTI F., SCAIONI M. & ZIEHER T. (2020): Training in innovative Technologies for close-range sensing in alpine terrain - 3rd Edition. The International Archives of Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences XLIII-B5-2020, 243–250.
  • SCHIRPKE U., SCOLOZZI R., DEAN G., HALLER A., JÄGER H., KISTER J., KOVÁCS B., SARMIENTO F.O., SATTLER B. & SCHLEYER C. (2020): Cultural ecosystem services in mountain regions: Conceptualising conflicts among users and limitations of use. Ecosystem Services 46, No. 101210, http:​/​/​/10.1016​/j.ecoser.2020.101210 
  • STEINER F.M., SEIFERT B., MODER K. & SCHLICK-STEINER B.C. (2020): A multisource solution for a complex problem in biodiversity research: Description of the cryptic ant species Tetramorium alpestre sp.n. (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zoologischer Anzeiger - A Journal of Comparative Zoology, 249 (3–4): 223–254,
  • TRENSE D., SCHMIDT T. L., YANG Q., CHUNG J., HOFFMANN A. A. & FISCHER K. (2020): Anthropogenic and natural barriers affect genetic connectivity in an Alpine Butterfly. Molecular Ecology 30:1, 114–130,

For more publications please go here.

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