Asst Prof Maja Zagmajster works in the SubBioLab research group at the Department of Biology, Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana in Slovenia. Her work focuses on understanding the distribution of subterranean species and the resulting biodiversity patterns, ranging from local to large scales, as well as their ecology and necessary improvements for the conservation of subterranean habitats. She manages the SubBioDB database, the largest collection of distribution data on subterranean organisms in the Western Balkans. At the national level, she is coordinating SubBioLab activities in two projects that will incorporate data from SubBioDB: i) the Slovenian Nature Conservation Information System under the Life NarcIS project the emerging European subterranean biodiversity platform, developing under the international DarCo project funded by the EU Biodiversa mechanism. She led a CEPF-funded project SubBIOCODE, aimed at improving knowledge and conservation of subterranean biodiversity in southeastern Bosnia and Herzegovina. She coordinates activities within the Life-IP NATURA.SI project to develop a methodology for monitoring subterranean biodiversity in caves. In recent years, she has been involved in studies of interstitial, a special type of subterranean habitat near or below riverbeds. The aims are to improve knowledge of endemism and biodiversity in these poorly studied habitats and to improve their conservation, especially in the face of increasing pressures on Balkan rivers.
Patrick Leitner, PhD, is a senior scientist who works in the in Institute of Hydrobiology and Aquatic Ecosystem Management (IHG) and at University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU). His focus in freshwater ecology is on habitat-specific analyses of macroinvertebrate assemblages under the influence of anthropogenic activities such as hydromorphological alteration, hydropeaking, pollution, climate change and siltation. The development and adaptation of multimetric indices for WFD-compliant assessment methods with respect to macroinvertebrates comprises his current research. His taxonomic expertise relates to Ephemeroptera, the Diptera family Simuliidae, aquatic Coleoptera and Crustacea.