About us


Supraindividual Biology Group

The  staff  members of the Supraindividual Biology Group  are involved in the zoology, botany and ecology related subjects in the theoretical and practical training of biology and ecology students. It is important for us to support students in using  effectively the theoretical and practical knowledge  during field trips.







Research directions

Population ecology
It is a common question nowadays among those who worry about natural values how the number of wild species change, and what  the reasons behind this change are. In order to answer these basic questions, data collection and their comprehensive analysis are required. We are involved in monitoring the bird species breeding in Hungary, with the Hungarian Ornithological and Nature Conservational Association, and its Bird Monitoring Centre. By examining inland birds, having largest decline among long-term migratory bird species, we have been able to make advanced integrated monitoring tests on the nesting  of flocks of swallows  along the Tisza for the past 25 years. These researches  give versatile and international co-operation opportunities to research in the areas of reproduction, survival, dispersion, migration and wintering.





Behavioural ecology
It is often said about people who find it difficult to resist their sexual motivations, aggression or even fear that they are "overflown with hormones "." So it is well known, that hormones affect our behaviour, however, how hormones  exactly regulate  behaviour, raises a number of interesting questions. In our experimental investigations we search for answers related to how various hormone levels affect the behaviour of individual breeds during decision-making situations in parental care or life in a team. A number of interesting experiments are possible to perform in this area. We carry out these experiments on the one hand on captive birds, on  the other hand, during field trips.




Aquatic Ecology
We investigate ecological interactions between the aquatic plants and algae that are crucial to the improvement of water quality in wetlands. We observe changes in  aquatic  life systems that are caused by eutrophication. Our research is carried out in the climate room of the  Institute of Environmental Science with controlled light and temperature conditions, and chances which make possible to carry out experiments in aquaria that can be repeated in high numbers.




Laboratory results of our field trips are completed with water-chemical analysis on the region's wetlands.
Hungarian and Dutch participation is involved in our international research project.




Microbial ecology

Within the microbial ecology, the examination of the soil's microbial community is important. The microorganisms influence the ecological status of the soil during their lifetime, and determine the pathways of metabolism, the function of the roundabout systems. The  composition of the microbial community of the artificially influenced and polluted areas are changing, at the level of the composition of species and metabolic processes. The sediments and living coating that cover the water's ground give home to many microscopic living creatures, like soils. These micro-organisms, like those living in the soil, highly influence the status of  waters by their metabolic processes. Within the research area, there has  been  opportunity to examine the condition of the microbial ecology in the Upper-Tisza region's wetland and flood plain soils and sediments. Field sampling and laboratory testing are part of the examinations carried out. Within the study of microbiology, the  quantitative and qualitative determination of the micro-organisms, and their produced enzymes are being examined as well. Some topics dealt with:
• The analysis and impact of microbial communities  polluted and artificially influenced soils to water status at the Tisza's floodplains.
• Hydro-biological testing of wetland:
- The chemical composition of water, how water affects the microbial community composition.
- The microbial activity of sediment and living coating.
- The water and sediment of microbial composition at areas with different ecological state.
During the microbial ecological researches, there is a possibility to assess the ecological needs of ragweed (Ambrosia artemiisifolia L.), the examination of its allergy-causing pollen and the microorganisms colonizing the surface of the ragweed. We would like to contribute to  a better understanding of the range of the ragweed, its ecological needs, and its role in allergies. There is a possibility for learning field sampling techniques, basic microbiological techniques, such as vaccination techniques, dying techniques, exercises with microscope in the following topics:
• Examining the relationship between heavy metals and microorganisms in the soil-plant-microbial system on the floodplains  of the Upper-Tisza region.
- Ecological factors influencing the ragweed's life cycle.
- How the number and composition of the  pollen-surface microorganisms  are influenced by the metal content of flowers, with regard to the metal content of soil.

• The metal content of the ragweed's flower and its relation to pollen morphology