Department of Limnology and Biological Oceanography


news from the Department of Limnology and Bio-Oceanography:



More than 100 people came together on May, 12 to celebrate Jörg Ott’s 75th birthday. The symposium included presentations on the dark ocean by Gerhard Herndl, ciliate, tubeworm, nematode and plathelminth symbioses by Monika Bright, Silvia Bulgheresi, and Harald Gruber-Vodicka, the history of Marine Science in Austria by Reinhard Kickinger, 1x Calvi and retour – Jörg as travel guide by Michael Schagerl, and an overview on Jörg’s scientific life by Fritz Schiemer. The evening continued with excellent food and great live music by Michael Schagerl’s Band and Rudi Novak on bagpiges.


Several classes of children from Viennese schools visited the Division of Bio-Oceanography and Marine Biology on April, 24. In the presentation “With the Submersible to the Deep-Sea Hot Vents” by Monika Bright the children got familiar with bacteria in symbiosis with animals and producing food for the host. They live in the crater of an active volcano in 2500 meters depth. This event was part of the Junior Science Club, an Initiative of the Vienna Board of Education, to bring together children and scientists from Vienna.



 Thesis topic: Functional patterns of shallow macrozoobenthic communities in a high Arctic fjord (79° N)

The aim of this study is to explore the biological trait patterns of macrozoobenthic communities in the Kongsfjorden, Spitsbergen, in varying distance to the Kongsbreen glacier (Kędra et al. 2011). This master thesis is based on the cooperation with Dr. Monika Kędra from the Institute of Oceanology Polish Academy of Sciences (IOPAN) in Sopot, Poland, and involves a research visit at the Baltic Sea (funding available). The main part will be conducted in Vienna under the supervision of Prof. Monika Bright and Dr. Renate Degen.

Requirements: Curriculum Ecology and Ecosystems (066 833) or Zoology (066 831). Successful completion of VO ‘Meereskunde’ and PP ‘Einführung in die Fauna und Flora mariner Lebensräume‘. Additional zoological training and basics in (multivariate) statistics and R will be beneficial.

For further information, please send an email.

Aaron Neptun prize


Congratulations: Aaron Lechner was one of the award winning persons of this year´s Neptun prize in the category “WasserFORSCHT”, for his work dealing with plastic particle transport in the River Danube. The Netpun price is the Austrian environment – and innovation price for topics dealing with water. The price was funded in 1999, in order to indicate the role of the resource water for life, environment, economy, art and society. Since then, the price is granted every two years at the world-water day (March 22; see here)

MSc thesis available at the Division of Bio-Oceanography

Thesis topic: Does cryptic carbon transfer by autotrophic Thaumarchaeota support

                 heterotrophic metabolism in the deep oceanic water column?



Heterotrophic deep sea prokaryotes are believed to rely on organic matter that is produced in the sunlit surface ocean by phytoplankton and consecutively transported into deeper water layers. However, less than 1% of the organic matter produced reaches the bathypelagic (> 2000m depth), making organic carbon a limited resource in the deep ocean. We hypothesize that autotrophic Thaumarchaeota play an important role as “secondary producers“ of organic carbon and thus supporting heterotrophic metabolism in deep water layers.

Project outline:

The project includes cultivation of established Thaumarchaeota cultures as well as exo-metabolite extraction and incubation experiments. Field work will be carried out in Banyuls, France between 26 June – 8 July. Carbon respiration/incorporation rates will be determined and active bacterial communities will be analyzed using stable isotope probing and amplicon sequencing.

For further information, please send an email


MicroPlastics Public Showcase

Schwimmende Sackerl, angespülte Flaschen, zerriebenes Altplastik im Wasser und an Stränden: Unser Kunststoffmüll reichert sich als Treibgut oder in Form winziger Plastikteilchen

(„Mikroplastik“) an den Ufern unserer Flüsse, in Sedimenten und in den Ozeanen an. Forscher versuchen, die Dimension des Umweltproblems zu klären. Ist Plastiktreibgut nur ein ästhetisches

Problem oder eine reale Gefahr? Spielt Mikroplastik eine Rolle als Vehikel für Schadstoffe und Krankheitserreger? Wie sollten Politik und Gesellschaft auf die Gefahren reagieren? Und gibt es Lösungen ohne Plastik?

Dienstag, 24. Jänner 2017, 19:00 Uhr
Naturhistorisches Museum Wien, Obere Kuppelhalle
Maria-Theresien-Platz (Haupteingang), 1010 Wien

Attached you will find the announcement flyer.

Reinhard Liepolt award

Aaron Lechner received the Reinhard Liepolt award from the „Österreichisches Komitee Donauforschung - Internationale Arbeitsgemeinschaft Donauforschung“, for his scientific work within the framework of his PHD thesis „ Dispersal and drift characteristics of young fishes, especially Chondrostoma nasus (L.), in running waters”. The award is assigned to special achievements in the field of limnological research on the River Danube and its corridor. The ceremony took place during the annual conference of the “Deutschen Gesellschaft für Limnologie und der SIL Austria” which was hosted by the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in September in Vienna, Austria.

Bernhard Zens won a renowned price

On 23.11.2016. Bernhard Zens won the  "Ferry-Starmühlner-Preis zur Förderung der Forschung an Süßwasserfischen in Österreich“ price which is granted by the „Haus des Meeres“. Within his master study „Linking Behavior and Hydraulics in Riverine Fish Larvae: Rheoreaction and Movement Patterns under different Flow Conditions“  he showed that the drift of fish larvae in rivers cannot be considered as passive particles, they are clearly able to influence their dispersal by active behavioral components.(l. to r.: Daniel Abed-Navandi, vice director; Bernhard Zens; Jörg Ott, chairman of the board)

Hans and Lotte Hass Award for Marine Conservation

The "Hans and Lotte Hass Award for Marine Conservation" was granted to Michael Stachowitsch from the department and his team  for "Conservation of sea turtles and their habitats in Turkey", a long-term project in the framework of a university field course. The ceremony took place in the Aqua Terra Zoo (Haus des Meeres) in Vienna on 17 November 2016 (l. to r.: Sabrina Wagner, tutor; Daniel Abed-Navandi , vice director; M. Stachowitsch; Jörg Ott, chairman of the board; Marie Lambropoulos, co-lecturer)



We would like to cordially invite you to the upcoming workshop "LET'S TALK ABOUT SYMBIOSIS" on THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 24TH in the DIVISION OF MICROBIAL ECOLOGY (DOME) SEMINAR ROOM.

The workshop is an initiative of the Symbiosis’ Research Focus of the University of Vienna and aims to gather students, postdocs, and faculty interested in symbiosis research in an informal one-day meeting.

As usual, besides oral presentations, we will provide time for discussion, a lunch buffet and coffee breaks.

To participate, please register by emailing here not later than November 17.

If you wish to give an oral presentation, please include the title of your talk.

Attached you will find the announcement flyer.


review on Patterns and processes in the drift of early developmental stages of fish in rivers published

“Patterns and processes in the drift of early developmental stages of fish in rivers: a review” a new publication by Aaron Lechner and co-workers has been published in Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries:


Current-mediated downstream dispersal by the early developmental stages of fish in rivers is a common phenomenon. Knowledge of patterns and processes in the dispersal, or ‘drift’, of young fishes provides important information on spawning location and spawning success, habitat use, movement paths and flow-ecology relationships more generally, all of which are critical for effective river conservation and management. But despite the importance of such information, our understanding of the patterns and processes of the drift of the early life stages of riverine fishes is limited. Furthermore, riverine fish drift research has tended to occur in isolation from movement studies of other organisms, limiting its integration with higher level concepts and theory. This manuscript reviews the literature on the dispersal of young fishes in running waters. Relevant studies from all climatic zones and geographical regions are investigated, with particular attention given to the types and life history stages of fishes that drift and the seasonal and diel patterns of drifting. We then consider how fish enter the drift and their mode of drifting, attempting to reconcile a long-running discussion, under what we call the ‘active–passive conundrum’. We argue that, aside from eggs, the early stages of fish are not exclusively either passive or active drifters, but usually a mixture of the two, which we term ‘actipassive’ drift. Finally, we evaluate existing knowledge in the context of a general conceptual framework for movement ecology, identifying gaps in our understanding of the roles of internal state, navigation capacity, motion capacity, external factors and internal factors in influencing the dispersal process.


Full text available here

Paper which shows that hydraulics is a key driver of microbial life in streams and rivers published

A recent publication, which shows that hydraulics is a key driver of microbial life in streams and rivers, has been published by Robert Niederdorfer and co-workers in nature Microbiology


Small-scale hydraulics affects microbial behaviour at the cell level1, trophic interactions in marine aggregates and the physical structure and function of stream biofilms. However, it remains unclear how hydraulics, predictably changing from small streams to large rivers, impacts the structure and biodiversity of complex microbial communities in these ecosystems. Here, we present experimental evidence unveiling hydraulics as a hitherto poorly recognized control of microbial lifestyle differentiation in fluvial ecosystems. Exposing planktonic source communities from stream and floodplain ecosystems to different hydraulic environments revealed strong selective hydraulic pressures but only minor founder effects on the differentiation of attached biofilms and suspended aggregates and their biodiversity dynamics. Key taxa with a coherent phylogenetic underpinning drove this differentiation. Only a few resident and phylogenetically related taxa formed the backbone of biofilm communities, whereas numerous resident taxa characterized aggregate communities. Our findings unveil fundamental differences between biofilms and aggregates and build the basis for a mechanistic understanding of how hydraulics drives the distribution of microbial diversity along the fluvial continuum.

Full text available here

Guest Lecture by Eric Achterberg, Helmholtz centre for ocean research, kiel, germany

Title: A story of the oceans, phytoplankton, trace elements and carbon.

November 29th, 2016, 4:00 pm, Lecture Hall 2, UZA I, Althanstrasse 14.


You may also download the flyer as a pdf file.


East African Soda Lakes - book recently released (Editor Michael Schagerl, Springer publishing house)

This compendium covers various aspects of soda lakes from development over organisms to uses and threats. It provides an ideal introduction of these ecosystems provides reviews and recent findings of the unique East African soda lakes, summarized by authoritatives from various scientific disciplines provide new insights into soda lake research. Around 140 figures including many color photo-plates invite the readers to dip into the fascinating lakes.

Available here

Paper on aquatic methane dynamics in a human-impacted river-floodplain of the Danube River published

A publication on aquatic methane dynamics in a human-impacted river-floodplain of the Danube River was published by the Peduzzi-lab in Limnology & Oceanography.


Although the importance of hydrological events has been recognized, the effect of flooding on CH4 concentrations and emissions from European, human-impacted river-floodplains is largely unknown. This study evaluated aquatic concentrations and emissions of CH4 from a highly modified, yet partly restored river-floodplain system of the Danube near Vienna (Austria).


Authors: Sieczko, A., K. Demeter, G. Singer, M. Tritthart, S. Preiner, M. Mayr, K. Meisterl & P. Peduzzi (2016).


Full text available here

Paper on Network-Scale Carbon Dioxide evasion of pre-alpine streams published in Limnology&Oceanography

A paper on Network-scale CO2 evasion authored by Jakob Schelker and Co-Authors has been published in the journal Limnology and Oceanography.


Schelker, J., G. A. Singer, A. J. Ulseth, S. Hengsberger, and T. J. Battin (2016). CO2 evasion from a steep, high gradient stream network: importance of seasonal and diurnal variation in aquatic pCO2 and gas transfer. Limnol. Oceanogr. DOI:10.1002/lno.10339.


Link to article.

paper on the drift of early life stages from two fish
families of high ecological concern published in

David Ramler, Harald Ahnelt, Hans Leo Nemeschkal & Hubert Keckeis 2016.
The drift of early life stages of Percidae and Gobiidae (Pisces:
Teleostei) in a free-flowing section of the Austrian Danube.

Hydrobiologia DOI 10.1007/s10750-016-2845-0


Link to article