Sabrina Gurten, BSc
Since I grew up in the countryside in the middle of the Swiss Alps (Wallis), I have always been very close to nature. After finishing my Bachelor’s degree in Basel, I decided to move to Innsbruck – back to the mountains, where I started my Master studying Ecology & Biodiversity with a focus on alpine ecosystems.
My Master thesis is part of the INTERREG-A-project «protectAlps», an international venture, in the frame of which Veronika Hierlmeier does her PhD thesis. In recent years, insects experienced a high loss in diversity and abundance, even in remote areas where the direct effects of agriculture and industry are negligible. One reason for this incidence might be globally distributed, harmful substances: so-called persistent organic pollutants, short-named known as POPs. By studying wild bees at the Zugspitze (Germany) and at the Hoher Sonnblick (Austria) by means of population genetics and morphometrics, we aim at revealing a potential link between the accumulation of POPs in alpine ecosystems and insect’s exposure to these substances. Besides the new insights into the general influence of POPs on insects, «protectAlps» also aims at establish a way to protect and conserve alpine biodiversity on a cross-national scale.
Population genetics and genomics
Traditional morphology and geometric morphometrics