Animal Ecology Laboratory

Animal Ecology Laboratory

Animal ecology research focuses on the influence of social activities on ecosystem functionality, the resulting pressure this puts on the environment, the state and recovery capabilities of nature and the environment and the impact of biodiversity and health risks for humans. It also contributes to the development of sustainable policy and management solutions.

This research is conducted with and on behalf of governments, site management organisations, the business community and research funds. We conduct fundamental and applied animal ecology research in the field of soil and water management, agriculture and nature, rural and urban areas, sustainability and the environment that focuses on developing and transferring knowledge to support the formulation, implementation and evaluation of policies and policy management.

Field of operations

The facilities for animal ecology research make it possible to conduct measurements, analyses, experiments, trials and autopsies to support applied and fundamental research projects on soil and fresh water, agriculture and nature, rural and urban areas, sustainability and the environment. The facilities include artificial streams in which the flow rate can be varied to test the effect on water organisms; a respirometer for measuring soil respiration to determine soil activity; a laboratory for molecular genetics where DNA material is studied to monitor variations in animal populations, for example; laboratories for determining invertebrates, micro-organisms and algae; and an autopsy room for larger animals.

The key fields of operation for the six animal ecology laboratories have been described below.

Freshwater ecology:

  • identification of sediment and fresh water fauna
  • experimental artificial streams

Molecular genetics:

  • extraction, purification and amplification of DNA for genotyping, including RFLD-PCR chloroplast DNA and microsatellites
  • genetic kinship analyses
  • forensic research for the protection of flora and fauna

Ecotoxicology:

  • experiments with invertebrates in the soil with PAHs, PCBs and nanopollutants
  • field studies and soil fauna studies
  • bioassays: growth and reproduction experiments (pot tests)
  • histology: tissue damage

Molecular biology:

  • biological analyses of soil, soil suspensions and preparations
  • colourings
  • DNA extractions
  • gel electrophoresis and gel colourings
  • KCI soil extractions
  • fungi and bacteria detection
  • microbial activity and biomass tests (counts, enzymes)
  • respirometric pot tests

Zoology:

  • autopsies, pathological research
  • collection and reference material
  • Entomology
  • identification of entomofauna
  • insect pests in wood
  • collection and reference material