l Research interests l Staff l Current research topics l Publications
Johann G. Zaller   Johann G. Zaller, Assoc. Prof. Ph.D.
Institute of Zoology
University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
Gregor-Mendel-Straße 33
A-1180 Vienna

Phone: +43 1 47654 - 83318
Fax: +43 1 47654 - 83309

View my CV at BOKU research gate
View my courses at BOKU online

  Research interests

We investigate, how environmental changes influence organisms and ecosystem functions. We are especially interesting on effects of agricultural management measures (e.g. tillage, crop rotation, mowing, fertilising, pesticide applications) and impacts of global changes (e.g. elevated atmospheric CO2, ultraviolet-B radiation, rainfall and temperature variations, invasive species). We use mainly comparative-experimental approaches and conduct our studies at different complexity levels in the laboratory, green house and in the field. In field studies we often also assess to what extent the surrounding landscape influences organismic reaction at the field level. We use a broad array of methods from hands-on traditional to more sophisticated methods: measuring abundances and activities of organisms, tracing with stable isotopes, nutrient analyses, DNA-sequencing, next generation sequencing, citizen science.




Anna Altmanninger
Master's programme: Organic agricultural systems and agroecology

Topic: Activity of springtails in response to herbicide application: a comparison of the active ingredient glyphosate and common herbicide formulations

Sarah Taylor Bothwell
Master's programme: Environmental sciences

Thema: Litter decomposition in vineyards

Co-supervisor: Per Gundersen, University of Copenhagen

Daniel Dörler  

Verena Brandmaier
Master's programme: Organic agricultural systems and agroecology

Topic: Effects of herbicides on earthworm activity, survival and reproduction: a comparison of commercially used glyphosate formulations and the active substance glyphosate

Edith Gruber
Technical assistant
  Edith Gruber

Christine Judt
Doctoral studies of Natural Resources and Life Sciences

Thema: Ecological interactions between pest insects and their natural antagonists in perennial agro-ecosystems

Thomas Frank, Institute of Zoology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna
Péter Bátary, Centre for Ecological Research, Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Yoko Muraoka
Technical assistant
  Yoko Muraoka
Maria Peer   Maria Peer
Master's programme: Environment and bioresources management

Thema: Link between plant phenology and amphibien migration

Co-supervisor: Florian Heigl, Institute of Zoology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna

Carina Scheibreithner
Master's programme: Organic agricultural systems and agroecology

Topic: Regenwurmabundanz unter verschieden Zwischenfrüchten in Groß-Enzersdorf

Ricarda Schmidt  

Ricarda Eva Schmidt
Master's programme: Environment and bioresources management

Topic: Verwendung von Regenwurm Reproduktions und Vermeidungsverhalten zur Beurteilung der Toxizität von Glyphosat-basierten Herbiziden, Glyphosat-Salzen und deren Netzmittel auf natürlichen Böden

Lukas Walser
Master's programme: Wildlife Ecology and Wildlife Management

Topic: Schwarzwildschäden auf Grünlandflächen im Nationalpark Donauauen - Weshalb bricht das Wildschwein?

Supervisor: Klaus Hackländer, Institute of Wildlife Biology and Game Management, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna

Maureen Weber
Master's programme: Organic agricultural systems and agroecology

Topic: Effects of lumbricides on the activity, survival and reproduction of earthworms: pure active ingredient glyphosate vs. commercial glyphosate-based formulations



Current research topics

1. Effects of pesticides on non-target organisms

Pesticide usage is increasing worldwide – in agriculture, in horticulture, for municipal use and in private gardens. However, our knowledge about possible side effects on non-target organisms is still scarce. In our studies we investigate the influence of herbicides, insecticides and fungicides on animals, plants and microorganisms, their interactions and ecosystem functions and ecosystem services. Experiments are conducted in the laboratory, green house and in the field.

Research projects:

1.1. Seed dressing with neonicotinoid insecticides and fungicides and their impact on earthworms, spring tails, protozoa, and other soil microorganisms and decomposition rates

Effects of herbicides in vineyards on soil organisms: earthworms, symbiotic mycorrhizal fungi, soil microorganisms

1.3. Ecology and control of invasive slugs: interactions with environmental factors and earthworms

Effects of Glyphosate-herbicides on the development of the Common toad and how these are altered by different temperatures

1.5. Effects of Glyphosate-herbicides and their adjuvants on earthworms, soil microorganisms and nutrients


2. Agricultural management measures and their effects on biodiversity, agroecosystem functions and services

The challenge of agricultural management is to perform the necessary activities in order to sustainably produce food without compromising agro-biodiversity and the associated ecosystem services. Richly structured agricultural landscapes inhabit diverse organismic communities that provide important ecosystem services for humans: production of food, protection against erosion, providing soil fertility, carbon sequestration, storage and purification of water, or socio-economic services for instance as recreation areas.

Research projects:

2.1. Biodiversity-based ecosystem services in vineyards: analysis of interactions between plants, insect pollinators, soil organisms and soil erosion in different wine regions in Europe (VineDivers project)

2.2. Effects of agricultural management measures on soil organisms and agroecosystem functions: mowing, fertilising, tillage

2.3. Alpine landscapes under global change: influence of land use changes on ecosystem services, biodiversity, human health and well-being (Healthy Alps; PI Prof. Thomas Frank)


3. Citizen Science in ecological research

Citizen Science (also known as participatory science) is a method where amateurs participate in scientific projects. Thereby, ecological research questions such as dispersion patterns and mechanisms of plant and animal species, the influence of roads (roadkill) can be investigated over geographically wide areas. The Citizen Science research group at BOKUs Institute of Zoology also runs a platform in order to cross-link different citzizen science stakeholders (


3.1. Influence of roadklills on animal populations (Roadkill Project)


View the complete publication list at the BOKU research portal
pdf copies upon request or available for download at ResearchGate