Ecologist Libor Závorka, a researcher at WasserCluster Lunz, took the lead in a paper on food quality and evolution of animals published in the renowned journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution. The study's findings strongly influence ways of looking at how creatures develop in evolutionary terms. Understanding how anthropogenic effects impact the environment and biomolecules is also of great importance regarding current challenges such as climate change, overfishing and agricultural use.
The quality of food and the amount of vitamins, amino acids and fatty acids animals consume have a major impact on their development. A deficiency of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as omega-3 fatty acids, can strongly influence animal metabolism and thus also the development, biochemical composition and structure of animal brains, as well as behavior, learning ability and fitness.
This publication is the outcome of a comprehensive workshop discussion between researchers representing twelve European universities and research centers, including the University for Continuing Education Krems and WasserCluster Lunz, as well as the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom, the University of Helsinki in Finland, and the Eawag Water Research Institute in Switzerland. Organized Libor Závorka, the workshop was held as part of the International Conference on the Applications of Stable Isotope Techniques to Ecological Studies.
Challenges society currently faces such as the impact of climate change on biodiversity, on global nutrient cycles, and those posed on industries such as commercial fish farming and fisheries that ought to become more environmentally sustainable in their food production are also highly relevant to the findings.
WasserCluster Lunz (WCL) is jointly run by the University of Vienna, the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna and the University for Continuing Education Krems and is funded by the Province of Lower Austria and the City of Vienna. The WCL's focus in aquatic ecosystem research lies in basic and applied research in the fields of microbial ecology, food chain research, biogeochemistry, ecotoxicology, restoration ecology and the management of streams, rivers and lakes. Priv.Doz. Martin Kainz heads the LIPTOX group, in which Libor Závorka conducts his research.