Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Biodiversity: patterns, processes, predictions and conservation

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
1.03.00  Natural sciences and mathematics  Biology   

Code Science Field
B003  Biomedical sciences  Ecology 

Code Science Field
1.06  Natural Sciences  Biological sciences 
biodiversity, integrative taxonomy, phylogenetics, (macro)ecology, evolution, biogeography, phytoceonology, vegetation, climate change, nature conservation, habitat loss, extinction
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Data for the last 5 years (citations for the last 10 years) on June 14, 2024; A3 for period 2018-2022
Data for ARIS tenders ( 04.04.2019 – Programme tender , archive )
Database Linked records Citations Pure citations Average pure citations
WoS  351  9,227  7,834  22.32 
Scopus  402  10,736  9,146  22.75 
Researchers (21)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  56537  Sanja Behrič    Technical associate  2022 - 2024  34 
2.  36398  PhD Klemen Čandek  Biology  Junior researcher  2018  48 
3.  10194  PhD Andraž Čarni  Biology  Researcher  2018 - 2024  569 
4.  15157  PhD Tatjana Čelik  Biology  Researcher  2018 - 2024  243 
5.  08376  PhD Igor Dakskobler  Biology  Researcher  2018 - 2022  703 
6.  56538  Rok Golobinek    Technical associate  2022 - 2024 
7.  32208  PhD Matjaž Gregorič  Biology  Researcher  2018 - 2024  354 
8.  55879  Aljaž Jakob  Biology  Junior researcher  2021 - 2024  12 
9.  17554  Olga Kardoš    Technical associate  2018 - 2023 
10.  28436  PhD Simona Kralj Fišer  Biology  Head  2018 - 2024  176 
11.  19326  PhD Matjaž Kuntner  Biology  Researcher  2018 - 2019  500 
12.  38268  PhD Filip Küzmič  Biology  Researcher  2018 - 2024  95 
13.  32700  Tjaša Lokovšek    Technical associate  2018 - 2024  25 
14.  56560  PhD Nik Lupše  Biology  Researcher  2023 - 2024  20 
15.  57182  Tim Prezelj  Biology  Junior researcher  2023 - 2024  108 
16.  37556  PhD Shakira Guani Quinones Lebron  Biology  Junior researcher  2018 - 2020  16 
17.  17345  Iztok Sajko    Technical associate  2018  78 
18.  53571  Janko Šet  Biology  Junior researcher  2019 - 2024  14 
19.  17094  PhD Urban Šilc  Biology  Researcher  2018 - 2024  427 
20.  50578  PhD Eva Turk  Biology  Junior researcher  2018 - 2022  24 
21.  08056  PhD Branko Vreš  Biology  Researcher  2018 - 2024  400 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0618  Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts  Ljubljana  5105498000  63,229 
The basic research program of the Jovan Hadži institute of Biology ZRC SAZU – ”Biodiversity: patterns, processes, predictions and conservation”– will continue to comprise biodiversity science at the local, regional, and global scales. Using modern approaches that integrate methods and knowledge from genetics/genomics, ecology, and evolution, we will continue to investigate i) patterns of animal and plant diversity at the genetic, genomic, individual, taxonomic, and ecosystem levels. We will compare biodiversity patterns along spatial and temporal (short term as well as evolutionary) gradients. We will investigate ii) processes that help generate and maintain biodiversity as well as identify those factors that lower it or even lead to extinction of species and higher taxa. Using selected model species of spiders, butterflies and plants we will study evolutionary, ecological, and biogeographic processes that generate genetic, genomic, phenotypic, and ecological diversity. To understand evolutionary processes, we will employ a combination of phylogenetic/phylogenomic and experimental approaches. Using phylogenetic and ecological models we will form iii) predictions on how biodiversity patterns will change in the time of rapid anthropogenic changes of environments. We will investigate the influence of alien species on taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional biodiversity, and the influence of land use on vegetation. Our studies will contribute towards iv) conservation of biodiversity, from the genomic level using cryobanks, through the evaluation of species endangered status, to identification of phylogenetically delimited conservation units, and to definition and conservation of habitat types and ecosystems. We will continue to publish our increasingly international and collaborative research in top scientific journals and monograph series, and present them to the national and international public. We will continue to involve the next generation of students in our research thereby helping shape their careers for modern scientific and teaching challenges. Our research programme has a great potential for excellent basic and applied science as well as for Slovenia's socio-economic and cultural development, and will substantially contribute towards understanding and conserving of biotic diversity at the local, regional, and global levels.
Significance for science
Our research of biodiversity will be integrative and will include taxonomic, phylogenetic, genetic, functional, interactive, spatial and temporal dimensions. In our research we will emphasize poorly known areas, from neglected parts of the Mediterranean and the Alps, to isolated islands and tropical forests. We will thus gather basic information about the biodiversity patterns of the investigated areas, where we expect further discovery and formal descriptions of new species and higher taxa. At the same time, the results of our research will facilitate the conservation status characterization of the research areas, while research on poorly known organisms sometimes leads to discoveries of biological processes with applied value. Our ongoing research of evolutionary and ecological processes on selected model taxa of orb web spiders has elucidated important sexual selection phenomena, e.g. the evolution of body size and sexual (size) dimorphism (SSD), and the evolution of genital structures, behavior and sexual conflict. Even though research in this field is popular and intensive, many questions remain open. The proposed studies of SSD evolution and adaptiveness of sexual phenomena, conducted on target taxa, will make important contributions to our understanding of key evolutionary mechanisms in sexual selection. Furthermore, we will investigate the phenomenon of animal personalities, a topic increasingly gaining attention over the last decade. While most research has tested the differences in behavior among individuals within species, our research has focused on the poorly understood significance of individual differences in the context of sexual behavior and fitness of individuals. Further research in this area will make important contributions to our understanding of the evolution of individual behavior differences in general. Our past and proposed work includes the research of spider web and silk evolution. Because we combine state of the art experimental and comparative methods, the results of our past and proposed research are relevant for a wide specter of basic (evolutionary ecology, behavioral plasticity, biodiversity monitoring) and applied fields of science (new biomaterials, improving synthetic materials). The proposed research on butterfly model species will contribute new knowledge, methodology and concepts in conservation biology. The proposed research represents a new approach in preserving biodiversity as it integrates genetic, morphological, ecological and behavioral features of individuals and populations. As such it will continue to contribute new knowledge in molecular and population genetics, and in understanding the plastic and adaptive responses of organisms to environmental changes. The results of this research will have a direct applied value in conservation of endangered taxa in Europe and other temperate areas. Our research will help elucidate global, European, and Slovenian biodiversity of plants, both in the temporal and spatial contexts. It has the potential for novel insights in ecology, biology and horology of endangered European species, and it will continuously assess the endangered status of these species, as well as help their long term preservation. Grasslands are among relatively fast-changing and endangered plant communities. Due to their continuous disappearance all over Europe, it is imperative to understand their species structure and interspecific relationships. A large number of inventories and the different timing of their execution allow for numerous analyses, using analyses of the development of grasslands to shrublands and forests. Three different forest edge types in the Southeastern Alps have not yet been thoroughly compared, even though they represent habitats for rare plants, endangered animals, are protective zones for snow and rock avalanches, and are under heavy human impact (ski slopes, roads). Our research will continue to improve the knowledge of European vegetation and
Significance for the country
Our research will contribute to the excellence of Slovenian basic science and its application to pressing societal problems, e. g. climate change, extension of urban areas, invasive species, all of which lead to homogenization of biota. The program group will continue to publish in top ranking biological and multidisciplinary journals. We will continue with editorial assignments for the journals PloS ONE, Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, ZooKeys, Hacquetia, Hladnikia, Biologia (Bratislava), Biologia Macedonica, Fitosociologia, Vegetation of Russia, Prilozi MANU, Acta Botanica Croatica, Tuexenia, Wulfenia, Scopolia, Acta biologica Slovenica, Folia biologica et geologica, and Phyton. Based on the monitoring of patterns of biodiversity and understanding of the processes that maintain or decrease it, we will develop biotic models with concrete predictions of habitat changes of species, higher taxa and ecosystems in future decades. Our predictions of biodiversity changes will be directly relevant for a sustainable and socio-economic development. An improved integration of scientific results from diverse fields, monitoring of ecosystem conditions and the execution of actual environment interventions, taking into account national and international legislation, will enable a better understanding of biodiversity changing and preservation. We will thus contribute towards solving varied socio-economic and sociological conflicts, as well as enabling quality steps for protecting the natural heritage. Studies of the endangerment status of (syn)taxa and habitat types will set the foundation for obligatory reporting of the Republic of Slovenia to the EU in compliance with the European legal directive (Council Directive 92/43/EEC). At the same time, our studies will contribute new knowledge and insights for a more efficient conservation management of economically important species. The results of the proposed research will thus be important for the conservation of biodiversity at the regional scale and for spatial planning. Our research will not only lead to developing new ways of tackling environmental problems, but may also be economically relevant. Our studies of spider web and silk evolution may establish a platform for the development of novel biomimetic and synthetic materials. Our studies also establish the base for efficient use of ecosystem services, e.g. climate stability, provisioning clean drinking water, soil formation and protection, pollution breakdown and absorption, recovery from natural disasters, etc. Here, mountain grasslands and sand dunes are especially important (some are Natura 2000 areas), where competing interests exist for high revenue versus preservation of biodiversity. Our research will highlight the gains and losses of different ground use in mountain habitats as well as human impact on the upper forest boundary. We will serve in various state committees to contribute to diverse nature conservation measures. Thus, we will directly impact the landscape management in urban and farmland areas, and indirectly improve citizens' health and quality of life. We will continue our participation in varied university programs and thus transmit our knowledge to a wide student audience.
Most important scientific results Interim report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Interim report
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