Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Investigations in zoology and speleobiology.

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
1.03.00  Natural sciences and mathematics  Biology   
1.05.00  Natural sciences and mathematics  Biochemistry and molecular biology   
3.03.00  Medical sciences  Neurobiology   

Code Science Field
B005  Biomedical sciences  Zoology 
zoology, taxonomy, molecular phylogenetics, phylogeography, biogeography,biodiversity, biospeleology, subterranean habitats; functional morphology, histology, ultrastructure, primary cell cultures, ecotoxicology, toxicity, microbial ecology, morphometry, ethology, neurobiology, olfaction, taste, chemical senses, fishes, nature conservation, Proteus, bear, honeybee, isopods.
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (43)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  22930  PhD Gregor Belušič  Biology  Researcher  2005 - 2008  218 
2.  11957  PhD Lilijana Bizjak Mali  Biology  Researcher  2004 - 2008  217 
3.  27540  PhD Maša Bohinc  Medical sciences  Junior researcher  2008  17 
4.  11169  PhD Janko Božič  Biology  Researcher  2004 - 2008  320 
5.  21844  Gregor Bračko    Technical associate  2004 - 2008  40 
6.  04336  PhD Boris Bulog  Biology  Researcher  2004 - 2008  211 
7.  18914  PhD Katarina Dobrovoljc  Pharmacy  Junior researcher  2004 - 2006  19 
8.  23415  PhD Jurij Dolenšek  Metabolic and hormonal disorders  Junior researcher  2004 - 2007  233 
9.  10397  PhD Kazimir Drašlar  Biology  Researcher  2005 - 2008  155 
10.  11155  PhD Damjana Drobne  Biology  Researcher  2004 - 2008  863 
11.  18913  PhD Cene Fišer  Biology  Researcher  2004 - 2008  274 
12.  17820  Nika Fon Leben    Technical associate  2004 - 2008  25 
13.  22469  PhD Špela Gorički  Biology  Junior researcher  2004 - 2006  44 
14.  20071  PhD Tanja Grgič  Biology  Researcher  2004  17 
15.  24779  Tadeja Herzog    Technical associate  2005 
16.  28499  PhD Jure Jugovic  Biology  Junior researcher  2007 - 2008  131 
17.  17424  Franc Kljun    Technical associate  2004 - 2008  55 
18.  06960  PhD Ivan Kos  Biology  Researcher  2004 - 2008  562 
19.  18749  PhD Rok Kostanjšek  Biology  Researcher  2004 - 2008  470 
20.  21408  PhD Aleš Lapanje  Microbiology and immunology  Researcher  2004 - 2007  354 
21.  24292  PhD Vladka Lešer  Public health (occupational safety)  Junior researcher  2005 - 2008  157 
22.  17426  Luka Malenšek    Technical associate  2004 - 2008 
23.  21409  PhD Pika Miklavc  Biology  Junior researcher  2004 - 2005  41 
24.  24029  Jožica Murko Bulić    Technical associate  2004 - 2005 
25.  17427  Danilo Musar    Researcher  2004 
26.  26053  PhD Živa Pipan Tkalec  Biology  Junior researcher  2005 - 2008  42 
27.  23416  PhD Kaja Pliberšek  Biology  Junior researcher  2004 - 2007  30 
28.  18628  PhD Hubert Potočnik  Biology  Researcher  2008  286 
29.  20072  PhD Petra-Maja Prelovšek  Biology  Junior researcher  2004 - 2006  19 
30.  13605  PhD Simona Prevorčnik  Biology  Researcher  2004 - 2008  103 
31.  00206  PhD Boris Sket  Biology  Head  2004 - 2008  586 
32.  00846  PhD Peter Stušek  Biology  Researcher  2005 - 2008  177 
33.  07737  PhD Jasna Štrus  Biology  Researcher  2004 - 2008  443 
34.  14835  PhD Peter Trontelj  Biology  Researcher  2004 - 2008  424 
35.  29600  PhD Martin Turjak  Biology  Junior researcher  2008  18 
36.  27543  PhD Janez Valant  Pharmacy  Junior researcher  2008  56 
37.  01255  PhD Tine-Borut Valentinčič  Biology  Researcher  2004 - 2008  220 
38.  16261  PhD Rudi Verovnik  Biology  Researcher  2004 - 2008  393 
39.  23478  PhD Maja Zagmajster  Biology  Researcher  2004 - 2008  343 
40.  25832  PhD Valerija Zakšek  Biology  Junior researcher  2005 - 2008  136 
41.  27833  Katja Zdešar Kotnik    Technical associate  2006 - 2008  48 
42.  16065  PhD Primož Zidar  Biology  Researcher  2004 - 2008  172 
43.  16381  PhD Nada Žnidaršič  Biology  Researcher  2005 - 2008  239 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  66,295 
1.6.1 Theoretical backgrounds and purposes: Zoology program at the Department of Biology include biodiversity studies, ecology of Dinaric Alps, morphology and physiology of cave salamander, biology of Oniscid crustaceans and neuroethology of fish chemoreception. Primary investigators are listed for each chapter: SKET, B.: Biodiversity and biogeographical patterns in karst areas: Biodiversity and biogeographical variability are very high in the Dinaric Karst. Morphological and molecular studies indicate multiple immigrations of species into the subterranean world, which is characterized by large genetic diversity. The mosaic phylogeny in some groups of animals produced their unusual morphologies. We are testing a hypothesis of active immigration into the subterranean world. Program subtitles are: 1. Catalogs of subterranean fauna of Slovenia and West Balkans, comparisons with the tropical subterranean faunas. 2. Molecular phylogentics and phylogeographic analysis of Erpobdelidae (Hirudinea) and Monolistrini (Asellidae; Crustacea. 3. Molecular phylogeny of genus Niphargus (Crustacea: Amphipoda) KOS, I.: Ecology of the Dinaric Alps: Dinaric Karst biocenoses are composed of large number of species including numerous endemic species, the alpha diversity of studied animal groups is several times larger than elsewhere. Management of the forest ecosystems influences species survival and stability of biocenoses. Program subheadings are: 1. Relationships between forest structure and centipede metapopulations. 2. Competition and cross-breeding between wild and domestic cats (Felis catus), treats to the wild cat genepool. 4. Chilopods (Chilopoda, Myriapoda) of the Dinaric karst. BULOG, B.: Studies of the cave salamander (Proteus anguinus). The cave salamander and the related surface salamander, mudpuppy (Necturus maculosus) are morphologically and physiologically different. We will study: 1. Functional morphology and physiology of senses in the cave salamander. 2. Primary hepatic cell cultures. 3. Accumulation of heavy metals and organic pollutants in the cave salamander. 4. Metalothionein synthesis at high environmental metal ion concentrations in the mudpuppy. 5. Distribution of fatty tissues and biochemical analysis of lipids in the cave salamander and mudpuppy. 6. Age assessments of amphibians using amino acid racemization method and skeletochronology. ŠTRUS, J.: Biology of Oniscidea Crustacea and their use for environment assessment: Surface and subterranean oniscids are morphologically and functionally adapted to their environment. At organismic, tissue, cellular and molecular levels we will investigate the structure of Oniscidea digestive organs and skin, the use of energy rich substances under conditions of stress and the effects of heavy metal accumulation. Program subheadings include: 1. Metabolism of essential and nonessential metals in crustacean epithelia. 2. Metalothioneins in metal dynamics and influence of pesticides and heavy metals on crustacean physiology. 2. Reactive oxygen species and assessment of the early stress. 3. Microorganisms in crustacean metabolism. 4. Functional morphology and physiology of surface and hypogeal crustaceans. 5. VALENTINČIČ, T.: Neuroethological studies of fish chemoreception: We correlate catfish olfactory discrimination abilities with olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) responses to amino acids. By stimulating olfactory receptor organ in highly purified water we discovered that most of the olfactory receptor neurons coding amino acids stimuli are inactive before stimulation. Program chapters include: 1. Electrophysiological responses of spontaneously inactive ORNs to amino acid stimuli. 2. Fluorescent labeling (DiI) of connections between the olfactory epithelium and the olfactory bulb and introduction of in situ hybridization methods in the study of catfish olfactory organ. 3. Olfactory discrimination of amino acids as related to their olfactory bulb chemotopy in zebrafish
Significance for science
Biodiversity and biogeographical patterns in karst areas - For the first time the biodiversity of the entire Dinaric Karst area was quantified. - We elaborated a system for biodiversity comparisons between areas. - We applied spatially explicit methods to the analysis of distribution and diversity of Dinaric subterranean fauna rendering these studies interesting in a wider biodiversity and biogeographic framework. - We discovered that the putatively homogenous cave salamander species Proteus anguins is comprised of several independent phyletic lineages. - We found the molecular differentiation of the pan-European species Asellus aquaticus to be in disagreement with its morphological differentiation. - Within the endangered crayfish species Austropotamobius torrentium we discovered a high degree of molecular subdivision, possibly even cryptic species. - We set up a theoretical and technical framework for collaborative taxonomical and ecological research of the pan-European genus Niphargus. - We described a new genus, three new species, and a subspecies of isopods; five new species of amphipods (from Slovenia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Romania, and New Zeland); a new species of syncarids from China. We described a poorly known type of cave habitat, the ‘cave hygropetric’. We identified areas of highest biodiversity for groundwater, thus presenting priority sites for conservation. Ecological investigations in Dinaric karst - We discovered a high correlation between soil fauna diversity and age and structural diversity of forests. Dinaric forests harbor endemic centipede species in high densities. - Habitat characteristics of the Dinaric Karst support viable Wildcat (Felis sylvestris) populations with a favorable conservation status. Investigations on Proteus - We investigated the metabolism of metals in the cave salamander Proteus anguinus. - We developed a new method of cultivating primary hepatocytes from Necturus and Proteus. This is the first investigation of factors affecting amphibian hepatocyte survival in primary culture. Biology of Oniscida and their environment Within the framework of metabolic research of essential and non-essential metals in invertebrates we analyzed metallothioneine-like proteins with Copper and Zinc from the digestive tract, representing the first reported characterization of such proteins in isopods. - We investigated the microbial community of the digestive tract of terrestrial isopods. - We described biochemical stress indicators like stress enzymes and morphological tissue changes in terrestrial isopods. Ethological and neurobiological investigations on fishes and bees. We recorded the reaction of spontaneously inactive olfactory cells to amino acids. In contrast to spontaneously active cells reacting to amino acids, the silent cells are to more than 85% specialists reacting to only one or two similar amino acids. Molecular studies showed that per cell only a single receptor is expressed, thus confirming these cells are specialists. After publication of these results it shall become clear that spontaneously active cells do not encode amino acids, their response – lower activity – being some kind of noise to the olfactory system.
Significance for the country
- We found an even higher biodiversity in the Slovenian Karst than predicted by morphological taxonomy, which prompts for a revision of conservation strategies. - We confirmed the exceptionally high biodiversity of Slovenian subterranean fauna by quantitative and comparative means, which offers possibilities for promoting the country. - By constantly updating our research methods we are improving the position of Slovenian spelobiology. This discipline is of special historical importance because it became established in right Slovenia in the 19th Century, and it still represents a topical and interesting research field. - By grid-mapping the subterranean biodiversity of the entire Dinaric Karst we demonstrated that Slovenia constitutes one of two terrestrial diversity centers, the other one lying in the southeast. While the latter has been already known, the Slovenian terrestrial diversity center – with different species – was here newly discovered. - The high subterranean biodiversity in combination with a high density of caves and a diverse karstic landscape offers possibilities for the development of ‘soft’ forms and high-profile tourism, emphasizing the countries specialties. - We elaborated a set of methods for country-wide noninvasive genetic monitoring of large carnivores and other endangered wildlife. - We established optimal habitat requirements of the European Wildcat (Felis sylvestris), which is highly threatened due to genetic pollution.
Most important scientific results Final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Final report, complete report on dLib.si
Views history