People / current lab members and alumni


Cene Fišer – Assistant Professor, Group Leader

ceneI am studying phenotype diversity and diversification within the subterranean amphipod genus Niphargus. A part of my research is dedicated to the on-going taxonomic revision of the genus, the other part to studying mechanisms underlying its evolutionary radiation.

Peter Trontelj – Professor of Evolutionary Biology

peterI am interested in the evolution of subterranean biodiversity at the phenotypic as well as the molecular level. Currently, with my PhD students and collaborators, I work on the question of adaptive radiation within extreme environments like caves, and on the processes that drive diversification and speciation in those environments.

Simona Prevorčnik – Assistant Professor

SimonaThe main objects of my taxonomical work are isopod crustaceans from the genera Asellus and Monolistra. I am using morphometry and multivariate statistical tools to study their diversity and mechanisms of speciation.

Boris Sket

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Rudi Verovnik – Assistant Professor of Zoology

RudiMy main interest in cave organisms is connected with our model organism Asellus aquaticus and its phylogeograpy, speciation and adaptation to the subterranean environment. I am currently working also on the phylogeny and phylogeography of isopods in the genus Monolistra. In addition, I am involved in butterfly studies and conservation at national and European level.

Maja Zagmajster – Assistant Professor of Zoology, Researcher

peterI am interested in biodiversity, distribution and ecology of subterranean fauna, from the scale of individual sites (caves) to large geographical extents (Dinaric karst, continents). I am updating and managing the SubBio Database. My research is devoted also to ecology and conservation of bats, I am coordinating bat research in the EU Life+ project "Life at Night".

Teo Delić

TeoKnowing that there is a global hotspot for subterranean fauna in my garden (Dinarides), made me think why is that so? At first, I started exploring how Pleistocene glaciations shaped the genetic structure at southern glacier boundaries. More recently, I focused on character displacement and adaptive radiation patterns within the genus Niphargus in the Dinarides.

Žiga Fišer

ZigaFor my Graduation Thesis I worked on the phylogeny and phylogeography of the Istrian blind amphipod Niphargus krameri. In my PhD research I focused on the evolutionary processes that are promoting adaptive divergence between surface and cave populations of the freshwater isopod Asellus aquaticus.

Marjeta Konec

MetaIn my PhD project I focused on the processes of speciation and adaptation to the subterranean habitat. I developed new genetic markers (microsatellites) and used them to study the genetic differentiation of subterranean and surface populations of the freshwater isopod Asellus aquaticus.

Valerija Zakšek

ValerijaI am interested in phylogeography, diversification and biogeographic patterns of subterranean fauna. Currently, my research is focused on different taxa: cave shrimps (Troglocaris and other atyids), the cave tube worm Marifugia cavatica, amphipods in the genus Niphargus and the European cave salamander Proteus anguinus. I am also interested in buterflies and their conservation.
Špela Borko

Špela Borko - PhD Student

Špela BorkoMy first steps into subterranean biology were via deep caves: I studied how subterranean fauna changes through the karst massif. In my PhD I will analyse evolutionary dynamics of target groups of subterranean crustaceans in the Dinarides. I am also interested in Alpine karst, its speleogenesis and subterranean fauna.

Marko Lukić - PhD Student

MarkoI am studying diversity and distribution of cave Collembola in Dinarides, with special interest in morphological and behavioral adaptations to cave environment and in some examples of disjunct distributional patterns. In my PhD research I focus on systematics and biogeography of the disjunctly distributed subgenus Heteromurus (Verhoeffiella). I also work on popularization and conservation of cave fauna within Dinarides (e.g.
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Petra Bregović - PhD Student

PetraMy research interest is mainly about subterranean beetles. For the master thesis I worked on distribution and taxonomy of the subterranean beetles of the genera Anthroherpon and Leptomeson in Croatia. Now, as a PhD student I am studying the influence of environmental factors on biodiversity of subterranean beetles in Dinaric karst and trying to understand the variations in body size.
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Gregor Bračko - Technical Assistant

GregorI work as a technician in the SubBioLab, where I am involved with various practical courses for students and maintenance of our SubBio Database. Otherwise, my main interests are ants, especially faunistics of Balkan ants.

former lab members


Ajda Moškrič – PhD Student

AjdaFor my PhD I am developed nuclear molecular markers to provide a framework for large-scale phylogenetic analysis of the subterranean amphipod genus Niphargus. In combination with morphological evidence, this is enabling us to understand cryptic speciation and adaptive radiation within the genus.
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Martin Turjak – PhD Student 2007-2012

MartinDuring his PhD Martin developped a new "Hennigean" method for evaluating taxic synapomorphies on phylogenetic trees (Turjak & Trontelj 2012). He was also working on the SubBio Database and programming the user interface for the online version of the database (read more on the database page).
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Jure Jugovic – PhD Student 2005-2010

JureWorked on the taxonomy and morphometrics of the cave shrimp genus Troglocaris.
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Špela Gorički - PhD Student 2002–2006

ŠpelaWorked on the phylogeography and systematics of the European cave salamander Proteus anguinus.
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group photo