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[EVENT IN ENGLISH] Millions of species stand on the brink of extinction, yet their survival is vital for our ecosystems. The overlooked and underappreciated microorganisms and invertebrates are critical to the health of the planet but lacking the status or popularity of so-called ‘hero species’. Our two speakers will show you how important aquatic invertebrates are for the health of our rivers and what viruses’ roles are in the environment and how their infections have global scale consequences.
More than just the water is moving: What is scurrying in our rivers?
Thea Schwingshackl, BSc (Master's student at the Department of Ecology, Universität Innsbruck)
Have you ever wondered why stones in a river are slippery? Or why mosquitos are most common close to water bodies? And did you know that in a single square metre of a river can be thousands and thousands of animals? But why would someone even care about this? Rivers are much more than just running water. They are home to reams of tiny invertebrates. Despite their small size, they play an important role in ecosystems and their functioning. Let’s dive into some rivers and explore the diversity and interconnectedness of these complex systems because everybody should care about rivers.
Dr. Christopher Bellas (Postdoc research at the Department of Ecology, Universität Innsbruck)
There are millions of viruses in every cup of lake, river or seawater and in every gram of soil. They outnumber all life on earth, however the vast majority don't infect humans. Every type of living organism gets infected by viruses, from microbes to plants and animals. In this talk, I discuss what all these viruses are doing in the environment and how their infections have global scale consequences. I will also show you how our work at the University of Innsbruck is revealing new types of viruses which may even protect their hosts.
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