Thomas WeisseThomas Weisse

Present position:

Senior scientist
Head of working group "Plankton Ecology"

Research area:

Plankton Ecology


+43 512 507-50200
+43 512 507-50299

Research topics · Study objects · Current group members and projects · Recent publications  · CV


Research topics 

  • Functional ecology and diversity of eukaryote freshwater microorganisms
  • Sensitivity of planktonic protists to climate change
  • Adaptations to extreme environments

We combine field studies with experimental laboratory investigations to address the above research topics.

Study objects 

  • Heterotrophic protists (ciliates and flagellates)
  • Phytoplankton (picocyanobacteria and eukaryotic algae)
  • Rotifers

study objects


Current group members and projects 

  • Adam Cieplinski (PhD student)
    Within the project ‘Rotifer cryptic diversity along alitutude (RotiAlti; PI: Ulrike Obertegger)’ Adam investigates the influences of spatial versus environmental processes on the genetic diversity of the rotifer Keratella cochlearis; he is employed with a grant by the Fondazione Edmund Mach (Trentino, Italy;
  • Xiaoteng Lu (PhD student)
    Xiaoteng’s PhD project focuses on investigating the Functional Ecology (FE) and Biodiversity of Planktonic Ciliates. He conducts field and experimental work to test general ecological theories such as those related to the effect of connectivity on diversity of planktonic ciliates. In his experimental work, the emphasis is on the interaction of intrinsic and environmental factors on the  FE of ciliates. His work is supported by a grant from China Scholarship Council.

  • Peter Stadler (Laboratory technician) - Culture collection, flow cytometry, image analysis

  • Christina Wirth (Master student) 
    Christina investigates the interactive effect of temperature, light, and nutrients on temperature-sensitive algae in laboratory experiments 

  • Astrid Beckmann (Master student)

    Recently finished

  • Victoria Bergkemper (2018). Phytoplankton community responses to short-term meteorological extremes – improved analysis using advanced optical methods. In her PhD thesis, Victoria used an imaging flow cytometer, FlowCAM (Flow-Cytometer-And-Microscope), to study the protist community in situ (mainly in Lake Mondsee) and experimentally in the laboratory. University of Innsbruck

  • Patrick Kaspar (2016). Size and Volume Estimations of Polystyrene Beads and Algae with Optical and Electronical Methods, MSc-thesis, pp. 79, University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria (FH)
group-photo 2017

P. Stadler – P. Kaspar – X. Lu – V. Bergkemper – T. Weisse – A. Cieplinski


Recent Publications 


  • Bergkemper V., Stadler P., Weisse T. (online first). Moderate weather extremes alter phytoplankton diversity - A microcosm study. Freshwater Biology doi. 10.1111/fwb.13127

  • Weisse T., Bergkemper V. (2018). Rapid detection and quantification of the potentially toxic cyanobacterium Planktothrix rubescens by in-vitro fluorometry and flow cytometry. Water research, 138, 234-240, doi. 10.1016/j.watres.2018.03.052

  • Cieplinski, A., Obertegger, U. & Weisse, T. (2018). Life history traits and demographic parameters in the Keratella cochlearis (Rotifera, Monogononta) species complex. Hydrobiologia, 811: 325-338. DOI: 10.1007/s10750-017-3499-2


  • Bergkemper V., Weisse, T. (2017). Do current European lake monitoring programmes reliably estimate phytoplankton community changes? Hydrobiologia DOI 10.1007/s10750-017-3426-6

  • Weisse, T. (2017). Functional diversity of aquatic ciliates. European Journal of Protistology EJOP 24492, 61B, 331-358, doi:10.1016/j.ejop.2017.04.001

  • Cieplinski A., Weisse T., Obertegger U. (2017). High diversity in Keratella cochlearis (Rotifera, Monogononta) - morphological and genetic evidence. Hydrobiologia, 796:145-159, doi: 10.1007/s10750-016-2781-z

  • Bergkemper V., Weisse T. (2017). Phytoplankton response to the summer heat wave 2015 – a case study from prealpine Lake Mondsee, Austria. Inland Waters 7:88-99. doi 10.1080/20442041.2017.1294352

  • Warren, A., Patterson, D.J., Dunthorn, M., Clamp, J.C., Achilles-Daye, U.E.M., Aescht, E., Al-Farraj, S.A., Al-Quraishy, S., Al-Rasheid, K., Carr, M., Day, J.G., Dellinger, M., El-Serehy, H.A., Fan, Y., Gao, F.,Gao, S., Gong, J., Gupta, R. Hu, X., Kamra, K., Langlois, G., Lin, X., Lipscomb, D., Lobban, C.S., Luporini, P., Lynn, D.H., Ma, H., Macek, M., Mackenzie-Dodds, J., Makhija, S., Manserg, R.I., Martin-Cereceda, M., McMiller, N., Montagnes, D., Nikolaeva, S., Ong’ondo, G.O., Perez-Uz, B., Purushothaman, J., Quintela-Alonso, P., Rotterová, J., Santoferrara, L., Shao, C., Shen, Z., Shi, X., Song, W., Stoeck, T., La Terza, A., Vallesi, A., Wang, M., Weisse, T., Wiackowski, K., Wu, L., Xu, K., Yi, Z., Zufall, R.& Agatha, S. (2017). Beyond the “Code”: A Guide to the Description and Documentation of Biodiversity in Ciliated Protists (Alveolata, Ciliophora). J. Eukaryot. Microbiol., doi:10.1111/jeu.12391


  • Ceríaco L.M.P., Gutiérrez E.E., Dubois A. et al. (2016). Photography-based taxonomy is inadequate, unnecessary, and potentially harmful for biological sciences. Zootaxa 4196(3): 435-445. org/10.11646/zootaxa.4196.3.9
  • Weisse, T. (2016). Editorial. European Journal of Protistology PDF

  • Weisse T. (2016). Current trends in protistology - results from the VII ECOP Joint Meeting 2015. Special Issue. Amsterdam [u.a.]: Elsevier (= European Journal of Protistology), 55, 101 pp.

  • Weisse T., Sonntag B. (2016). Ciliates in planktonic food webs: communication and adaptive response. In: Witzany, G. & Nowacki, M. (eds), Biocommunication of ciliates. Spinger, Berlin, 351-372.
  • Cieplinski A., Weisse T., Obertegger, U. (2016). High diversity in Keratella cochlearis (Rotifera, Monogononta) - morphological and genetic evidence. Hydrobiologia, doi: 10.1007/s10750-016-2781-z
  • Weisse T., Gröschl B., Bergkemper V. (2016). Phytoplankton response to short-term temperature and nutrient changes.
    Limnologica - Ecology and Management of Inland Waters 59, S. 78 - 89. doi:10.1016/j.limno.2016.05.002
  • Weisse T., Anderson R., Arndt H., Calbet A., Hansen P.J., Montagnes D.J.S. (2016). Functional Ecology of aquatic phagotrophic protists – concepts, limitations, and perspectives. J. Protistol., http://dx.
  • Weckström K., Weckström J., Huber K., Kamenik C, Schmidt R., Salvenmoser W., Rieradevall M., Weisse T., Psenner R.,  Kurmayer, R. (2016). Impacts of climate warming on Alpine lake biota over the last decade. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 48, 361-376. Abstract


  • Dunthorn M, Lipps JH, Dolan JR, Abboud-Abi Saab M, Aescht E, Bachy C, Barría de Cao MS, Berger H, Bourland WA, Choi JK, Clamp J, Doherty M, Gao F, Gentekaki E, Gong J, Hu X, Huang J, Kamiyama T, Johnson MD, Kammerlander B, Kim SY, Kim Y-O, la Terza A, Laval-Peuto M, Lipscomb D, Lobban CS, Long H, Luporini P, Lynn DH, Macek M, Mansergh RI, Martín-Cereceda M, McManus GG, Montagnes DJS, Ong’ondo GO, Patterson DJ, Pérez-Uz B, Quintela-Alonso P, Safi LSL, Santoferrara LF, Sonntag B, Song W, Stoeck T, Stoecker DK, Strüder-Kypke MC, Trautmann I, Utz LRP, Vallesi A, Vd’ačný P, Warren A, Weisse T, Wickham SA, Yi Z, Zhang W, Zhan Z, Zufall R, Agatha S (2015). Ciliates  – protists with complex morphologies and ambiguous early fossil record. Marine Micropaleontology 119:1-6. Abstract

  • Weisse T. (2015). Editorial. European Journal of Protistology 51(2):A1-A2. doi 10.1016/j.ejop.2015.04.003

  • Mirtl M., Bahn M., Battin T., Borsdorf A., Dirnböck T., Englisch M., Erschbamer B., Fuchsberger J., Gaube V., Grabherr G., Gratzer G., Haberl H., Klug H., Kreiner D., Mayer R., Peterseil J., Richter A., Schindler S., Stocker-Kiss A., Tappeiner U., Weisse T., Winiwarter V., Wohlfahrt G., Zink R. (2015). Forschung für die Zukunft-LTER-Austria White Paper 2015 zur Lage und Ausrichtung von prozessorientierter Ökosystemforschung, Biodiversitäts- und Naturschutzforschung sowie sozio-ökologischer Forschung in Österreich. LTER-Austria Schriftenreihe, Vol. 2, 74pp., ISBN 978-3-9503986-0-1.

  • Nevalainen L., Luoto T. P., Manca M., Weisse T. (2015). A paleolimnological perspective on aquatic biodiversity in Austrian mountain lakes, Aquatic Sciences, 77:59-69. DOI 10.1007/s00027-014-0363-6



see CV for full list of publications