SubBioLab

July 20, 2018

Visiting student from Turkey

July 20, 2018

In the middle of June 2018, a student Mert Eren from Hacettepe University (Ankara, Turkey) joined our lab, with the support of Erasmus+ Internship program. Mert is an undergraduate biology student and a caver, interested in studying subterranean fauna. While in Slovenia, he learns about different aspects of subterranean biology, including theoretical as well as practical (field) work. He is especially focusing on methods to organise and manage data on subterranean animals, using SubBioDatabase as example.

Mert Eren checking subterranean representatives of different taxa. Photo: Maja Zagmajster.

Mert Eren checking subterranean representatives of different taxa. Photo: Maja Zagmajster.

June 27, 2018

Lecture: Spring, cave and interstitial Truncatelloidea (Caenogastropoda)

June 27, 2018

On Thursday, 21 st June 2018, prof. dr. Andrzej Falniowski, the head of the Department of Malacology at the Jagiellonian University (Krakow, Poland), presented the specificity and restrictions of the usefulness of the morphological and molecular characters in the taxonomy of the snail superfamily Truncatelloidea. He discussed some solutions in the taxonomically doubtful cases on the family level, as well as problems of species boundaries, speciation and phylogeography.

Photo: M. Zagmajster

Photo: M. Zagmajster

Photo: M. Zagmajster

Photo: M. Zagmajster

June 26, 2018

International speleo-meeting on Asellus aquaticus

June 26, 2018

On 12th and 13th of June 2018, researchers investigating subterranean and surface populations of the freshwater isopod Asellus aquaticus met in Mangalia (Romania), based on the initiative from our lab. Ten researchers from six institutions from Europe and USA presented their ongoing work, exchanged ideas, and discussed possibilities for future collaborations. We were hosted by Serban Sarbu and the GEES lab. With all his heart, Serban also gave us a tour of the famous chemoautotrophic Movile Cave, as well as the nearby wells and springs.

Participants:

University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia: Cene Fišer, Peter Trontelj, Žiga Fišer

Etövös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary: Gergely Balázs, Gergely Horvát

Université of Lyon 1, Lyon, France: Christophe Douady, Tristan Lefébure

Dominican University of California, California, USA: Meredith Protas

California State University, California, USA: Serban Sarbu

Florida International University, Florida, USA: Jorge Pérez-Moreno (via skype)

Foto: Žiga Fišer

Foto: Žiga Fišer

June 12, 2018

BioBlitz 2018

June 12, 2018

On Friday, 8th June 2018, we participated at BioBlitz – 24 hours with Mura River, held at Veržej. The event was organized for the fourth time by the Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Nature Conservation. We introduced the characteristics of the water interstitial to the students of Gimnazija Ljutomer. As the gravel bar on the Mura River was submerged due to high water level, we conducted sampling of the interstitial fauna with the Bou-Rouch method in a nearby gravel pit. No troglobionts were found despite multiple efforts, so the substitute sample from the Sava River gravel bar was shown to students to present the usual fauna. Participants: dr. M. Zagmajster and dr. S. Prevorčnik from the SubBio Lab, Department of Biology, Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, and dr. N. Mori from the Department of Organisms and Ecosystems Research, National Institute of Biology.

Photo: M. Zagmajster

Photo: M. Zagmajster

Photo: S. Prevorčnik

Photo: S. Prevorčnik

Photo: M. Zagmajster

Photo: M. Zagmajster

May 15, 2018

Lecture: Adaptive challenges for bat echolocation

May 15, 2018

On Wednesday (9.5.2018) dr. Klemen Koselj, from Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen, gave a presentation on his research work on. Currently, he is a visiting researcher in our research group, with the financial support of Public scholarship, development, disability and maintenance fund of the Republic of Slovenia [LINK: http://www.sklad-kadri.si/en/].

Photo: M. Zagmajster

Photo: M. Zagmajster

Photo: M. Zagmajster

Photo: M. Zagmajster

April 23, 2018

Sharing experiences on conservation of Lesser horseshoe bats Rhinolophus hipposideros

April 23, 2018

On 20. – 21.4.2018, there was a final conference of the Polish Life+ project »Podkowiec« (http://podkowiecplus.pl/en/home-page/) in Bochnia in Poland. On invitation of the organisers, Maja Zagmajster presented the experiences from the Life+ project »Life at night«, with special focus on work and results related to bats. This project, where University of Ljubljana was one of the partners, was conducted in 2010-2014, and aimed at finding solutions to lower the negative impact of light pollution on bats and moths. (LINK)

Slovenian attendants and most of the Polish organising team, that led the project Podkowiec+. (foto: neznan)

Slovenian attendants and most of the Polish organising team, that led the project Podkowiec+. (foto: neznan)

Bochnia 25 (foto: Nastja Kosor)

(foto: Nastja Kosor)

March 28, 2018

Seminar »Conservation of communities of aquatic ecosystems«

March 28, 2018

On Saturday, 24.3.2018, we participated at the seminar »Conservation of communities of aquatic ecosystems« for teachers of elementary and secondary schools, to introduce them to the specifics and wonders of subterranean life. The seminar was held at the Nature reserve Škocjanski zatok (http://www.skocjanski-zatok.org/), and organised by Park Škocjanske jame (http://www.park-skocjanske-jame.si/) and National Education Institute Slovenia (https://www.zrss.si/en/). The speakers came from two research groups of Department of Biology of Biotechnical faculty University of Ljubljana, namely SubBioLab (1,3) and Group for functional morphology of animals and developmental biology (2; see page: http://www.anguinus.net). The following themes were presented:

(1) Assist. Prof. Dr. Maja Zagmajster: Caves – subterranean wetlands

(2) Prof. dr. Rok Kostanjšek: Biology of the olm

(3) Assist. Prof. Dr. Simona Prevorčnik: Interstitial waters – overlooked subterranean habitat

Assist. Prof. Dr. Simona Prevorčnik  (photo: Darja Kranjc)

Assist. prof. dr. Simona Prevorčnik (photo: Darja Kranjc)

Prof. dr. Rok Kostanjšek (photo: Darja Kranjc)

Prof. dr. Rok Kostanjšek (photo: Darja Kranjc)

Doc. Dr. Maja Zagmajster (photo: Darja Kranjc)

Doc. dr. Maja Zagmajster (photo: Darja Kranjc)

February 9, 2018

Conservation genetics of olm (Proteus anguinus)

February 9, 2018

On Thuesday, 27. 2. 2018, Valerija Zakšek had a lecture about our research on the conservation genetics of proteus. Proteus is charismatic cave animal and endemic species of the Dinaric Karst. It is of extraordinary importance for protection of subterranean waters. Here, we presented main results of the conservation genetic research conducted within an applied research project under the title “Toward the conservation of the European cave salamander (Proteus anguinus): monitoring guidelines, current status estimation and identification of evolutionarily significant units” (project leader: Peter Trontelj). 

Lecture was organised by Society for cave exploration Ljubljana.

Field work.

Field work.

January 27, 2018

Collective field trip – sampling interstitial fauna in an emptied accumulation lake

January 27, 2018

On 24th and 25th of January, we went on a field trip.  Every 20 years, the dam on Soča river is fully opened and accumulation lake emptied for maintenance purposes. We seized the opportunity and sampled intersticial fauna above and below the dam. Enormous quantities of sludge were washed away and the river showed us its face as it once was, with canjons, meanders and gravel bars.  Just below the upper layer of gravel, the smell of hydrogen sulfide and fine, cement-like sediments confirmed our predictions: not the best conditions for interstitial fauna.

Photo: Valerija Zakšek.

Photo: Valerija Zakšek.

Photo: Maja Zagmajster.

Measuring abiotic parameters. The sludge were deposited down-stream, and it was hard to find good spot for sampling. Photo: Maja Zagmajster.

Photo: Špela Borko.

Photo: Špela Borko.

Photo: Simona Prevorčnik.

Photo: Simona Prevorčnik.

Photo: Simona Prevorčnik.

Photo: Simona Prevorčnik.

Photo: Valerija Zakšek.

Photo: Valerija Zakšek.

December 4, 2017

Lecture: Amphipods of Switzerland

December 4, 2017

On Wednesday (29. 11. 2017) Roman Alther, a PhD student in Florian Altermatt’s lab at Eawag (Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology) and University of Zurich, gave us a presentation of his work on the diversity and distribution of  amphipods in Switzerland.

20171129_101657

Abstract

Biodiversity patterns and biological communities are strongly influenced by habitat connectivity. The structure of such spatial networks may shape both dispersal of native species but also invasions of non-native species, and can result in characteristic diversity patterns. Fluvial networks offer unique possibilities to study such processes in a spatially explicit manner. Worldwide, rivers are strongly affected by non-native species that often have detrimental effects on natural communities.

I studied the spatial imprint of the network structure on the community composition of native and non-native amphipod species in the upper river Rhine basin. My analyses revealed distinct patterns of local species richness in the network and specific differences in distribution of native and non-native species. Specifically, non-native species are still mostly restricted to larger and more connected streams whereas small and more isolated headwaters present refugium habitats for native species. Furthermore, overall amphipod community structure closely mirrored the topological modularity of the network, highlighting the network’s imprint on community structure. These results improve the understanding of the influence of spatial connectivity on biodiversity and invasion processes in natural systems.

November 29, 2017

Scientists from Department of Biology of University of Ljubljana and Notranjska Museum Postojna received the Alexander von Humboldt Gedächtnispreis Memorial Award

November 29, 2017

2017 Alexander von Humboldt’s Memorial Award for the best scientific paper published in Senckenberg’s journals was received by the Slovenian speleobiologist from Biology Department of Biotechnical Faculty of University of Ljubljana and Notranjska Museum Postojna.

Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung was founded on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s initiative in 1817. Nowadays it includes six research institutes and three natural museums, and is one of the largest and oldest natural history associations in Europe. Senckenberg publishes nine scientific journals covering wide range of research fields, including biodiversity, marine biology, evolution and paleontology, and presents annual reward for the best scientific paper published herein. This year’s award was the 25th annual Alexander von Humboldt’s Memorial Award.

The award was presented by the Association’s director Prof. Dr. Volker Mosbrugger in Frankufurt on Monday, 27. November, to Slovenian speleobiologists Slavko Polak, Teo Delić, Rok Kostanjšek and Peter Trontelj for the following research article „Molecular phylogeny of the cave beetle genus Hadesia (Coleoptera: Leiodidae: Cholevinae: Leptodirini), with a description of a new species from Montenegro“, published in Arthropod Systematics & Phylogeny 74(3): 241–254.

The publication deals with the molecular phylogeny of the highly specialised hygropetricolous cave beetles of the genus Hadesia, and a description of new species from Montenegro, Hadesia zetae. The Award’s jury was convinced by the atractivness of the research object itself as well as by the use of the integrative approach, combining results of morphological analyses,  molecular phylogeny and biogeography, as well as presenting a need for the conservation of the subterranean habitats.

Peter Trontelj, Slavko Polak, Rok Kostanjšek and Teo Delić receiving 2017 Alexander von Humboldt’s Memorial Award for the best scientific paper published in one of the Senckenberg’s journals, presented by Association's director Prof. Dr. Volker Mosbrugger (photo: Senckenberg).

Peter Trontelj, Slavko Polak, Rok Kostanjšek and Teo Delić receiving 2017 Alexander von Humboldt’s Memorial Award for the best scientific paper published in one of the Senckenberg’s journals, presented by Association’s director Prof. Dr. Volker Mosbrugger (photo: Senckenberg).

Cave  beetle Hadesia is feeding on a special type of subterranean habitat – the cave hygropetric (photo: Teo Delić)

Hadesia zetae in its natural habitat (photo: Teo Delić)

Scanning electron micrography of Hadesia zetae sp. n., a new species of hygropetricolous cave beetle described from Montenegro, Europe. Mouthparts, including widened maxillae, mandibles and densely setosed maxillipeds are used for filtering fine grained organic matter from percolating water​s​ (photo: Rok Kostanjšek)​.​

​Cave beetles often have narrow ranges, many of them are known to be single site endemics. Geographic distribution of Hadesia species with the maximum extent of the last glacial maximum glaciers (Polak et al. 2016).

 

October 26, 2017

Subterranean fauna presented on the TEDx event

October 26, 2017

On Saturday, 4th November, there will be TEDx event, with talks related to the common theme: »Underground«. There will be also a talk about the fascinating world of subterranean animals!

More info on the speakers, programme, the venue, on: https://www.ted.com/tedx/events/24556

October 26, 2017

Each of us should be the guardian of waters

October 26, 2017

On 14th October, the article on importance of protecting the groundwaters, especially as source of drinking waters, was published in Slovenian magazine »Večer«. The article presents various aspects important for protecting the groundwaters. Special place is given also to presenting the importance of subterranean fauna, especially related to groundwaters.

Link (article is in Slovenian): https://www.vecer.com/vsak-od-nas-mora-biti-varuh-voda-6329014

September 20, 2016

Dinaric Symposium on Subterranean Biology

September 20, 2016

From 23rd to 24th September, the 1st Dinaric Symposium on Subterranean Biology is going to take place in Zagreb (http://dinaric-symposium.hbsd.hr/). Members of our lab will participate as authors or coauthors in six oral presentations, presenting some latest research discoveries. See the program on the web page of the symposium!

September 2, 2016

Field work of the project Proteus

September 2, 2016

The second year of the field work of the Peter Trontelj’s project “Toward the conservation of the European cave salamander (Proteus anguinus): monitoring guidelines, current status estimation and identification of evolutionarily significant units” is about to be successfully finished. The work was reported in popular media. Enjoy photo gallery!

Link to article (in Slovenian).

The project was funded by Slovenian Research Agency and Ministry of the environment and spatial planning. The project summary can be accessed at this link.

June 16, 2016

A new PhD from our team

June 16, 2016

Ajda Moškrič successfully defended her PhD theses today!! Congratulations!

June 8, 2016

…and about poaching in caves

June 8, 2016

In past few months, illegal traps for cave beetles were found in several caves. So far, we declared beetle traps from five caves, the problem was now reported also in popular media (in Slovene):

http://www.24ur.com/novice/slovenija/kradejo-nase-hrosce.html http://4d.rtvslo.si/arhiv/slovenska-kronika/174409315 http://www.delo.si/novice/okolje/tujci-kradejo-nase-jamske-hrosce-zasluzek-je-velik.html
http://val202.rtvslo.si/2016/06/reportaza-27/

June 7, 2016

23rd International Conference on Subterranean Biology

June 7, 2016

From 12th to 17th June 2016, the 23rd International Conference on Subterranean Biology  will be held in Fayetteville , Arkansas, USA. This is the largest and most important event in subterranean biology, organised every 2 years – this year for the first time in USA. We will participate at the conference as (co)authors of two key note presentations, eight oral presentations and two poster presentation (link to the programme here). We are proud to announce that our PhD student Teo Delić received 2016 ISSB Travel Fellowship, and Master student Vid Švara received The Crustacean Society Travel Fellowship.

May 16, 2016

COST action DNAqua-Net CA15219

May 16, 2016

The laboratory joined COST action Developing new genetic tools for bioassessment of aquatic ecosystems in Europe. More information available at link.

May 16, 2016

Cave fauna in popular media

May 16, 2016

In past weeks, cave fauna research was presented in  Nedeljski_Dnevnik , and on Radio Študent.