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Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2022-05-01 - 2025-04-30

The project MORGENTAU strip cropping is an agricultural innovation project in Hofkirchen im Traunkreis, which is implemented by three organic farmers together with the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences Vienna and the Research Institute HBLFA Raumberg-Gumpenstein. The aim of the project is to create an arable farming system with "strip cropping", which meets the challenges of the current regional and global problems in the area of the decline of biodiversity, the decline of soil fertility and the increase in weather extremes. Unlike monoculture farming, MORGENTAU strip cropping involves growing multiple crops within the same field in contiguous strips. Each crop is "moved on" to the adjacent strip each year. This form of land management increases the resilience and stability of the production system and provides a much more diverse and attractive habitat for a variety of insects and other wildlife. The project will investigate how strip cropping can be implemented in practice and what effects occur in terms of yield and quality of the harvested products, health of the plants, biodiversity on the field and resilience of the system.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2022-02-01 - 2023-12-31

The main aim of the “Explore Research from East to West in Austria” (exploREsearch) project is to increase the understanding of the key benefits that research brings to society in general, but also to promote and facilitate greater public participation in the entire scientific processes. Our further aim is to enhance youth’s engagement with science and research and in this way encourage them to become future researchers. For the first time in Austria, the ERN will be organised in several major cities (Vienna, Salzburg and Innsbruck) at the same time covering Austria from East to West and enabling about a third of the Austrian population to directly participate at the event. We created a program that integrates researchers from almost all significant research institutions in these cities, which aim to use the ERN framework to share their knowledge and present their activities and projects. Moreover, support for the event and its promotion was stated by Austrian ministries (including also financial support), other public stakeholders, funding agencies and further initiatives. The event will, on the one hand incorporate on-site formats such as Scientific Booths and Workshops, Science Talks, Science Cafes, Science Slams, the EU-Corner as well as several Social Activities to bring public and science closer together. On the other hand, virtual formats will integrate lectures and workshops as well as a live stream from the on-site stage program for online visitors. Interdisciplinarity plays a significant role in this project and its activities integrate more than 25 domains covering fundamental to applied science as well as physics to arts aiming to provide something for everyone.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2021-12-01 - 2023-06-01

Wild bees provide pollination services, which is a key ecosystem function for maintaining local biodiversity and ecosystem resilience. The conservation of rare pollinator species is crucial, because biological diversity and efficient pollination provision depends on a resilient pollinator community. Further, non-native bees might apply positive services to their new environment, but may also negatively affect the native fauna and flora, e.g., by acting as competitors for native bees for nesting sites and floral resources, modify native pollination networks or act as vectors for introduced parasites. A prerequisite of establishing suitable animal conservation measures is to understand the specific habitat requirements and spatial ecology of endangered but as well as invasive species. Recent developments in animal tracking technology expand the use of active radio transmitters even to insects such as larger bees. In our project we apply this approach to vulnerable species (i.e., our first study organism – Bombus muscorum), but also introduced species threatening local bee populations, (i.e., our second study organism – Megachile sculpturalis). We aim to study movement patterns, home range, daily activity patterns of the two species, define ecological niche to predict presence and absence and gain insights in these species’ population density and dynamics over an entire season. In 2022, during the main activity period of the two study species (June-August), we plan to track males (drones) and females (workers in case of bumble bees) using rechargeable active transmitters (Plecotus-Solutions GmbH) specifically designed for large bees (weighing 180 mg). Adverse effects of trackers are infrequently reported in literature and are often based on observations. To quantify possible effects, we will perform preliminary trials for both target species, to compare bee behaviour with and without trackers in a cage experiment. During the duration of the active tracking experiment of individuals in the field (30 days per species), we will install stationary receivers with internal data loggers to store tracking data remotely. To increase signal range (600m-1km), receiver stations will be placed at elevated locations (e.g., roofs in urban habitats, and small hills, open terrain in natural habitats). In addition to the tracking subsequent analysis, a capture re-capture study is planned. This data, along with the tracking data will be used in a spatially explicit open population analysis, which allows estimation of population densities and dynamics, emigration, immigration and survival during the study period. Our results will contribute to establish suitable conservation/control measures for the two study species.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations