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Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2018-03-01 - 2022-02-28

Ozone is a serious health problem in many cities during hot summer days. The ozone causes breathing problems as well as heart diseases and WHO has lately lowered the recommended limits exposure concentration. City trees can both increase and decrease the ozone levels depending on the environmental conditions. The increase of ozone is caused by the release of volatile organic compounds (VOC) which in the presents of NOx produce ozone. On the other hand leaves can decrease ozone levels trough deposition processes. The trees influence on both production of ozone and absorption depends on species but also on the physiological status of the tree such as drought or salt stress. By measuring the VOC production as well as the ozone absorption of species commonly used as street trees we can identify species that at high temperatures has a large capacity to decrease ozone concentrations. Further we can test how the influence on the ozone concentration is affected by drought and salt stress and how the response differs between species. The results will be used to model the ozone concentrations in Vienna The findings and the improved model can in the future be used as decision tools when planning the urban landscape to minimize ozone peaks.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2018-10-01 - 2021-09-30

Ash dieback is a serious disease of ash (Fraxinus) species caused by the ascomycete fungus Hymenoscyphus fraxineus, which is native to East Asia and an invasive alien species in Europe. In Austria, symptoms of ash dieback were first recorded in 2005, and due to the successive spread of the causative agent, the disease now occurs in entire Austria. Besides the highly susceptible common ash (Fraxinus excelsior), which is severely damaged throughout most of its distribution range in Europe, narrow-leaved ash (Fraxinus angustifolia), which is in Austria mainly distributed in floodplain forests along the river March, is highly susceptible to the ash dieback pathogen. As observed for F. excelsior, there are individual F. angustifolia trees in young and mature forest stands which are only slightly affected by the disease. Such trees possibly possess a genetically heritable high resistance towards H. fraxineus. In order to preserve the autochthonous occurrence of F. angustifolia in floodplain forests along the March, which is threatened by ash dieback, undamaged or only slightly damaged ash trees across all age classes will be selected in the natural distribution range of the species. These trees will be incorporated in a clonal collection and in a progeny trial, in which their disease resistance levels will be evaluated. Heavily damaged afforestations of narrow-leaved ash which have been established during the last 10 to 15 years will be inspected, and undamaged or slightly damaged plants will be selected and vegetatively propagated, first by grafting and later by rooted cuttings. For the older age classes, seeds will be collected from undamaged or slightly damaged ash trees, from which plants will be grown. With the vegetatively and generatively propagated plant material two field trials will be established. In these trials, the level of resistance of the various genotypes will be tested. Simultaneously, the experimental sites shall serve for the ex situ preservation of narrow-leaved ash. Thereby, the present project will in the long-term lay the foundation for the establishment of seed orchards with disease resistant specimens of this ash species.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2018-11-12 - 2022-05-11

Efficient management of soil organic matter requires not only data on the current status of organic carbon content in soils but also information on the carbon deficit. The latter determines if a soil can sequester additional carbon or if the soil is already saturated. The contribution of the Institute of Soil Research to the project addresses the calculation and GIS mapping of carbon deificits and saturation portentials in Lower Austrian soils, including soil group-specific data analysis. The results of this research will serve as a tool for more effective, soil- and site-specific management of organic matter in cultivated soils of Lower Austria.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations