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Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Biodiversity: patterns, processes, predictions and conservation

Periods
Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
1.03.03  Natural sciences and mathematics  Biology  Ecosystems 

Code Science Field
B003  Biomedical sciences  Ecology 

Code Science Field
1.06  Natural Sciences  Biological sciences 
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (17)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  34594  PhD Ren Chung Cheng  Biology  Researcher  2013 - 2016  45 
2.  36398  PhD Klemen Čandek  Biology  Junior researcher  2013 - 2017  48 
3.  10194  PhD Andraž Čarni  Biology  Researcher  2013 - 2017  568 
4.  15157  PhD Tatjana Čelik  Biology  Researcher  2013 - 2017  243 
5.  08376  PhD Igor Dakskobler  Biology  Researcher  2013 - 2017  702 
6.  32208  PhD Matjaž Gregorič  Biology  Doctoral student  2013 - 2017  354 
7.  17554  Olga Kardoš    Technical associate  2013 - 2016 
8.  28436  PhD Simona Kralj Fišer  Biology  Researcher  2013 - 2017  176 
9.  19326  PhD Matjaž Kuntner  Biology  Head  2013 - 2017  500 
10.  38268  PhD Filip Küzmič  Biology  Junior researcher  2015 - 2017  94 
11.  32700  Tjaša Lokovšek    Technical associate  2013 - 2017  25 
12.  30797  PhD Andrej Paušič  Biology  Junior researcher  2013  176 
13.  37556  PhD Shakira Guani Quinones Lebron  Biology  Junior researcher  2014 - 2017  16 
14.  17345  Iztok Sajko    Technical associate  2013 - 2016  77 
15.  17094  PhD Urban Šilc  Biology  Researcher  2013 - 2017  426 
16.  50578  PhD Eva Turk  Biology  Junior researcher  2017  24 
17.  08056  PhD Branko Vreš  Biology  Researcher  2013 - 2017  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  63,147 
Abstract
The basic research program of the Jovan Hadži institute of Biology ZRC SAZU will continue to include biodiversity research, which will be placed globally, and will comprise taxonomic, phylogenetic, genetic, functional, spatial, interaction and landscape diversity in different time frames. We now name our program ”Biodiversity: patterns, processes, predictions and conservation”, which better captures our efforts for a modern and integrative approach to the problems that are crucial for a sustainable development of mankind. We will investigate i) patterns of genetic, species and ecosystem diversity of floras and faunas, both in Slovenia and globally. This research will take place at different biological levels: from genetic analyses, taxonomy, identification and comparisons of biodiversity patterns, phenology, structure and dynamics of populations, organism communities and ecosystems, to identification of the changes in biodiversity along mosaics, as well as environmental and temporal gradients. We will investigate ii) the processes that generate biodiversity, from evolutionary mechanisms in selected organisms, where we intend to explore the relative strength and importance of natural and sexual selection in speciation, the research of the evolution of phenotypic traits and their adaptiveness, ecological characteristics of organisms and populations, the role of dispersion in speciation, to the development of plant communities and vegetation, and their distribution in the landscape. Our studies will form iii) predictions of biodiversity, both temporal and spatial; we will investigate future changes in biodiversity in relation to anthropogenic changes, for example habitat loss, climate change and the influence of invasive species. Through our research, we will contribute to iv) conservation of biodiversity and its processes, using DNA cryo-banks at the genetic level, by deep-freezing tissues and organisms as well as monitoring selected species and populations at the species level, and by providing guidelines for the conservation of ecosystems. To achieve our research goals, we will use cohesive and integrative approaches that include components of interdisciplinarity. Our research will include both excellent basic science as well as its application for pressing global problems. As objects in our studies, we will primarily use higher plants and target invertebrates, e.g. butterflies and spiders, but will also include other organisms in target ecosystems. Our broadest products will embrace entire ecosystems: we intend to provide guidelines for a permanent and sustainable preservation of their genetic, taxonomic and phylogenetic diversity, the diversity of their known (or yet undiscovered) biological interactions and their functional and spatial diversity.
Significance for science
Our biodiversity research will ecompass taxonomic, phylogenetic, genetic, functional, interactive, spatial and temporal dimensions. To achieve our scientific objectives we will employ interdisciplinary methods. Such integrative biological approach is novel anywhere, but particularly in Slovenian science. Mutual relations between the individual units of biodiversity are poorly understood, but all are crucial to the functioning of ecosystems; it is thus imperative to examine their interactions and understand their meaning. Our research will be new to the global science and will therefore for a part in the international development of a true integrative methodology in researching biodiversity. We will focus our research primarily on the poorly known areas, from certain neglected parts of the Mediterranean and the Alps to the tropical forest. We will thus, in addition to establishing biodiversity processes and predictions, obtain the basic information about the patterns of biodiversity itself, where we expect to continue to discover and formally describe new species and communities. The research team will implement the program in collaboration with other research institutions at home and abroad; we will thus constantly exchange ideas and results and provide a high degree of realization of the program. Our existing collaboration with colleagues from the U.S., Europe, Asia and Australia enables us to transfer ideas into the international arena, as well as participation in the preparation of high-profile publications. In future research we will integrate our major achievements to date and enrich them with new knowledge. Finally, there is also the possibility to transfer biodiversity research and knowledge into practice. Unexplored or newly discovered organisms may metabolically produce substances that are potentially useful for human kind. Our past research, for example, discovered spider species in the montane forests of Madagascar, which produces silk with such combination of physical properties that it is currently believed to be the strongest natural material. Such discoveriy with a clear added value to humanity would not have been possible without our targeted fieldwork, which focused on the unusual biology of giant spider webs spun by a previously unknown species. We will continue to use such "bioprospecting" in the future.
Significance for the country
Our research has both a local and global component. The biodiversity of the territory of Slovenia may be among the highest globally, an assumption that is largely confirmed by our integrative research, which could further situate Slovenia among biodiversity and tourism hot spots. Our biological models will allow specific predictions of how the habitats of species and higher taxa and entire ecosystems might change over the coming decades. These models will be directly useful to society in the concept of sustainability and quality of socio-economic development, as they can largely guide management strategies decisions, and decisions affecting implementation of legislation in nature conservation. Consequently, our integrative research will enable the protection of biodiversity at different levels and thus maintainance of the rich natural and cultural heritage of Slovenia. Recent decades have seen an increasing awareness of the importance of the environment, which is one of the essences for the socio-economic development of Slovenia. The results of the program are directly included in the legislation on nature protection, and significantly contribute towards the sustainable management of nature. Our results will be used for planning interventions in the area, preparation of management plans of protected areas and in evaluating the effects of interventions in place, and will thus indirectly affect the development of agriculture, forestry and tourism. Our research will contribute to excellence in Slovenian basic science and its application to the pressing problems of today's society. Overall, our biological models will make concrete predictions of how nature is likely to change in the coming decades. The results of the proposed research may have an unprecedented socio-economic, not only ecological importance, not the least because urban and invasive species are often seen as problematic for humans. During the research process several biological databases are formed/updated, and these play an important role as the source of information for planning and establishment of sustainable spatial management. Furthermore, our growing collection of organisms represent not only the basic research objects, but also a part of the Slovenian cultural and natural heritage. The results of the program will be integrated in the higher education system, particularly in the courses covering biodiversity, evolution and nature conservation. Our program group members teach in the majority of Slovenian universities. The results of the program will be presented to the general public and will thereby help increase the awareness of our important natural wealth, which is, among other entities, a basis for national identity. National pride may also be based on well-preserved natural environment: biodiversity and landscape, which are the main objects of the proposed program.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2013, 2014, 2015, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2013, 2014, 2015, final report
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