Mag. Dr. Andrea Grill

+43 1 4277 57403

Room: 405 Rennweg 14, 1030 Vienna

Appointments: upon individual arrangement, preferably via e-mail.

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Research interests

Evolution means 'change'. In that sense I am interested in change. I am fascinated by the great variety of living organisms, i.e. biodiversity, and how it can be explained. By chance and choice the objects of my research are mainly butterflies. But I have also worked with beetles, squirrels and dormice.
While research projects have often become extremely specialized, I try to combine different disciplines: population genetics, phylogeography, ecological work and experimental biology.

Current research focuses on hybridization between endemic and widespread butterflies. What limits (or enhances) hybridization between closely related species?

Model species are nymphalids of the genus Maniola spp., which includes the widespread Maniola jurtina and three island endemics M. cypricola, M. chia and M. nurag, restricted to the islands of Cyprus, Chios and Sardinia respectively. On Sardinia the endemic species hybridizes with the widespread species in areas of contact.
Females of southern European populations conduct a summer diapause. Successful oviposition after the diapause is crucial for the persistence of the respective population. Part of our project is to study the influence of climate warming on the summer diapause and survival of the butterflies.

We carry out molecular work, laboratory crosses and breeding experiments and are further investigating the role of pheromones in hybridization between closely related butterflies.

Pheromones are species-specific blends of chemical compounds. Many species from arthropods to mammals use them for intra-specific communication. Also in butterflies many males communicate with short-range pheromones during mating. This research is done in co-operation with Prof. Dr. Stefan Schulz, Institute for Organic Chemistry, TU Braunschweig, Germany.
So far, little is known about the chemical composition of these pheromones and their role in maintaining reproductive isolation. The study is one of the first to deal with this question.


A new article about my research is now online at Uni:Blick.
Schmetterlinge im Kasten