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Ecological and Behavioral Physiology

The main fields of our interest are the thermal biology, energetics and respiration of insects, and the interrelation with behavior. The investigations provide basic physiological knowledge to understand survival strategies of insects in a variable environment. Investigations cover the environmental physiology and behavioral ecology of honeybees, wasps, beetles, bugs, grasshoppers and ants.

Thermal Biology

We investigate the thermal behavior of individual insects as well as the social thermoregulation in the honeybee colony and in wasp societies to get knowledge about the regulatory mechanisms of individual and colonial thermoregulation.


For an energetic view on foraging efficiency we perform ecophysiological investigations of foraging bees and wasps in the field, including measurement of body temperature, respiration and environmental parameters at the microclimatological level. The aim of these studies is to understand the energetic optimization strategies of insects during foraging, and to develop a theoretical model of the underlying thermodynamic and energetic processes.

Respiratory Physiology

A further field of our research is the respiration physiology of insects. We investigate the temperature dependent mechanisms of insect respiration both in the resting and in the active state. Measured quantities are CO2 production and O2 consumption.

Insects and Global Change

Climate change is one of the main challenges of mankind. However, it is also a great challenge for insect survival. We compare the energetic requirements and the thermal limits of native and invasive insect species. This field of research is of special interest for the assessment of fitness and survival of insects in a changing environment due to global warming.

Members of the Studygroup:

Name / Title Contact information

Stabentheiner, Anton, Ao.Univ.-Prof. Dr.phil.


Phone:+43 316 380 - 3984, 5705

Kovac, Helmut, Priv.-Doz. Dr.phil.


Phone:+43 316 380 - 5705

Käfer, Helmut, Mag. Dr.rer.nat.


Phone:+43 316 380 - 3984


Senior Researcher
Universitätsplatz 2
Univ.-Prof.Dr. Thomas Schmickl


Senior Researcher
Universitätsplatz 2
Ao.Univ.-Prof.Dr. Anton Stabentheiner

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