Friday, 10 January: Guest Lecture "Biodiversity decline - to what extent do pesticides contribute?"

On the 10th of January, Assoc. Johann Zaller will hold a talk on "Biodiversity decline - to what extent do pesticides contribute?". It will take place at 2 pm in lecture theatre 421 at the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Hellbrunnerstrasse 34.The Department of Biosciences cordially invites all listeners!

Assoc. Johann Zaller ist stellvertrender Leiter des Institut für Zoologie an der BOKU in Wien.

The decline in biodiversity has been documented almost worldwide. Unanimously, the following factors were identified as driving forces: habitat loss, climate change with all its facets, and the intensification of agriculture including the frequent use of plant protection products or pesticides. But how can it be that pesticides that went through a very complex and time-consuming approval process cause such detrimental effects’ An important aspect is that the mandatory environmental risk assessments of pesticides do not take sufficient account of application practices in agriculture. Numerous studies show that organisms are widely influenced by pesticides: through direct impacts on non-target organisms, indirect effects through the destruction of forage plants, effects on the microbiome and the nervous system of organisms. Due to their broad use, drift and leaching, pesticide residues show up in many water bodies and soils; this even includes substances that have been banned for decades. Hence, the integrity of ecosystems might be compromised, as the affected organisms perform essential functions in ecosystems. The dilemma can be solved by consistently reducing the use of pesticides and transforming pesticide-intensive farming into an agriculture where an objective is also the protection of biodiversity.

After the seminar (ca. 16:00 h), everybody is welcome to join us for drinks and munchies in the ,,coffee corner on the second floor".

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