Department of Hydrobiology
Address: University of Pécs, Faculty of Sciences, H-7624 Pécs, Ifjúság str. 6.
Head of department: Dr. Zoltán Csabai, associate professor
Our team is made up of experienced and young researchers armed with high level taxonomic knowledge and skills. Everything in our lab revolves around studying aquatic macroinvertebrates. In our hydroecological research we aim to understand and describe certain phenomena and processes resulting from the interaction of aquatic communities and their environment, thereby providing a solid basis for interpreting and sustainably using ecosystem services arising from these relationships that have a significant impact on human well-being.
Besides the descriptive biodiversity studies within and beyond the borders of Hungary, our research projects are targeting invertebrate communities in streams and rivers, especially the intermittent ones, which are becoming more and more common in our region, as a consequence of the climate change. We pay special attention species which has been granted special conservation status and interest, our goals are to understand various aspects of their occurrence, dispersal, life history and reproduction cycle and the roles of the governing factors behind.
We strive to apply the latest and most effective methods in our research, including integrative taxonomy, DNA barcoding, and metabarcoding. In specific projects, field studies are supplemented by experiments performed in our indoor flume laboratory modelling various types of streams under fully controlled environment.
In teaching, our colleagues are responsible for a various set of courses related to water and its biota, as well as for the Limnology MSC programme and Hydroecology specialization for Biologists at the University of Pécs. We also play a significant role in deepening general ecological and biostatistical knowledge and in developing scientific communication skills. We believe that education that can reflect the challenges of today's world goes far beyond frontal training, but rather builds on the experience gained at the project level through collaborative research and developing the professional competencies of our students and young colleagues.
News and actualities related to the departmental life are available on our social media pages
The history of the predecessors of the Department of Hydrobiology goes back to 1950, when the Department of Zoology was created from the Natural History Expert Group of the Educational College of Pécs. In 1975 József Majer became the head of the department, who put the focus on zoology and also started to teach ecology and ethology among the firsts in Hungary. In 1992, the Faculty of Sciences was established, and with the leadership of József Majer the Department of Zoosystematics and Ecology was separated from the Department of Zoology. From that point, the department was operated under several different names; between 1994 and 2000 as Department of Ecology and Zoogeography. The department’s main profile at that time was, in addition to taxonomic research, the study of wetlands. At the same time, the formation of environmental science training took place, first of all the accreditation and launch of environmental science teacher training. Following the separation of taxonomy, the unit was further organized as the Department of General and Applied Ecology. From 2006 to 2013, the department was a part of the newly established Institute of Environmental Sciences.
With the arrival of Zoltán Csabai in 2003, the research trends have been changed towards Limnology and Hydrobiology, and within that, aquatic macroinvertebrate research emerged into the focus. This process was strengthened by the arrival of further colleagues, and with several PhD and gradual students a well-established research group is now focusing on aquatic macroinvertebrate research at the department. This change in the main profile necessitated another change in the name of the department. From the 1st of July 2010 the department was called the Department of Ecology and Hydrobiology. In 2011, Hydrobiology MSc training programme was accredited by our department.
When the Institute of Environmental Sciences was disbanded in 2013, the department was moved back to the Institute of Biology, and from that point, it is now working as the Department of Hydrobiology.