Bettina Sonntag

Senior Scientist

  • Head of the research group “Ciliate ecology and taxonomy”
  • since June 2011 at the Research Department for Limnology, Mondsee of the Leopold-Franzens-University Innsbruck (LFUI)

2000–2011: Post Doc Research Associate at the Institute of Ecology of the LFUI

2000: Guest scientist at the Institute of Zoology in the lab of  Prof. Wilhelm Foissner, Salzburg University, Austria

1998–2000: Doctoral thesis at the Institute of Zoology & Limnology of the LFUI

1990–1998: Diploma in Biology at the Institute of Zoology & Limnology of the LFUI


Curriculum vitae

Senior scientist and head of the research group ‘Ciliate ecology and taxonomy’
since Sep 2012 (full position) at the Research Department for Limnology, Mondsee, Leopold-Franzens-University of Innsbruck (LFUI), Austria

Jun 2011–Aug 2012 (full position) at the Institute for Limnology, Austrian Academy of Sciences ÖAW, Mondsee, Austria (institute transfer to the LFUI in Sep 2012)

2000-2011 Post-Doc (for details see below)

1998–2000 Doctoral thesis: “Seasonal dynamics of ciliates and flagellates in a deep oligotrophic lake (Traunsee, Upper Austria) influenced by saline and alkaline industrial sludge”, Institute of Zoology & Limnology, LFUI, supervisors: T. Posch & R. Psenner

1990–1998 Diploma in Biology, branch ecology, elective subject limnology, LFUI, thesis: “Comparison of three methods to determine flagellate abundance, cell size and biovolume in cultures and natural freshwater samples”, supervisors T. Posch & R. Psenner


Scientific employments

Feb 2009-May 2011 (PI): “Ultraviolet radiation effects on planktonic freshwater ciliates: an assessment of photoprotection and repair strategies” FWF Austrian Science Fund: project P21013-B03, Feb 2009-Nov 2013

Jun 2007-Dec 2009 (PI): “Ciliate catalogue of Piburger See” TWF Tyrolian Science Fund and Theodor-Körner-Fund

Aug 2008-Jan 2009 (PI): “The microbial food web of Piburger See, Tyrol – analysis at the species level.” Research grant of the LFUI

Oct 2007-Nov 2007 (full position, PI): “Morphological description of a ciliate species (Ciliophora) from Piburger See (Tirol, Austria) including phylogenetic data of the small subunit rRNA gene sequence” Research grant, program ‘Excellentia’, LFUI

Nov 2006–Sep 2007 (full position): “Impact of algal composition, protistan grazing and limiting nutrients on the seasonal succession, biomass distribution and grazing defense mechanisms of bacterial populations in a lake” FWF: project P17554-B06, 2004-2007, PI R. Psenner, LFUI

Nov 2003–Oct 2006 (full position): “Testing alternative benefits in symbiosis of pelagic Chlorella-bearing ciliates: an ecological and molecular approach.” FWF: project P16559-B06, 2003-2007, PI R. Sommaruga, LFUI

Aug–Nov 2003 (contract): “Interreg III A–Crayfish Geneflow – Genotypisierung und morphologische Variation autochthoner Flusskrebspopulationen in Nord- und Südtiroler Gewässern” EU project, Tyrolian & South Tyrolian Governments, 2003-2005, PI L. Füreder, LFUI

Aug-Oct 2003 Academic training financed by the Austrian employment service (AMS) at the Institute of Zoology & Limnology, LFUI

2003 & 2004 (participation): “Bottom-up and top-down factors regulating bacterial dynamics in aquatic systems of different trophic status in Austria and the Czech Republic” Österreichischer akademischer Austauschdienst (ÖAD), program AKTION Austria-Czech Republic, 2003-2004, PI T. Posch, LFUI

Mar 2001–Jan 2003 (30% position): “Biodiversity in alpine habitats: integration of microbial, botanical and faunistic aspects of terrestrial and aquatic habitats” Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW), project code ALP, 2001-2004, PI R. Psenner, LFUI

Jan 2001–Dec 2002 (50% position): “Influence of trophic conditions on microbial predator-prey interactions studied in continuous cultivation systems” FWF: project P14637-BIO, PI R. Psenner, LFUI

Jul–Dec 2000 (PI): Research stay at the University of Salzburg: “Neue Planktonciliaten aus dem Traunsee“ research grant of the Wilhelm & Ilse Foissner Stiftung, University of Salzburg, Austria

Jul–Dec 2000 (PI): “Untersuchung der heterotrophen und mixotrophen Ciliatengemeinschaft im Pelagial des Piburger Sees, Ötztal (Tirol) während der Re-Oligotrophierung“ research grant of the LFUI

Dec 1997–Dec 1999 & Apr 2000 (full position): “Effects of SOLVAY-emissions on the ecological functionalism of Traunsee – module 5: microbiology” province of Upper Austria, PI R. Schmidt, Institute for Limnology, ÖAW, Mondsee, Austria

1999 & 2000 (participation): “Ecological aspects of genetic and functional diversity of aquatic bacteria under grazer control” ÖAD, program AKTION Austria-Czech Republic, PI T. Posch, LFUI

1997-1999 (participation): “Effects of different protozoan species on the diversity, morphology and activity of bacterial communities” Austrian National Bank (OENB), project 6513, PI R. Psenner, LFUI

Mar–Jun & Aug–Nov 1997 (contracts) “Measuring and modeling the dynamic response of remote mountain lake ecosystems to environmental change: a program of mountain lake research” EU project, code MOLAR, ENV4-CT950007, PI R. Psenner, LFUI



2009 “Kanadapreis” of the “Canadian studies centre of the LFUI” for the publication:  Sonntag B, Strüder-Kypke MC, Summerer M 2008 Uroleptus willii nov. sp., a euplanktonic freshwater ciliate (Dorsomarginalia, Spirotrichea, Ciliophora) with algal symbionts: morphological description including phylogenetic data of the small subunit rRNA gene sequence and ecological notes. Denisia 23:279-288
Berichterstattung der Universität Innsbruck

2007 Award of the “Theodor Körner Fonds zur Förderung von Wissenschaft und Kunst der Kammer für Arbeiter und Angestellte” for the project “Ciliates in Piburgersee”
coverage ORF Vorarlberg
coverage University of Innsbruck
coverage wirtschafts|zeit

2006 Special science award from the province of Vorarlberg, Austria

2006 Grant for doctoral thesis from the province of Vorarlberg

2005 “Dr. Otto-Seibert-Award to fund scientific publications at the LFUI” for the publication: Sonntag B, Foissner W 2004 Urotricha psenneri n. sp. and Amphileptus piger (Vuxanovici, 1962) n. comb., two planktonic ciliates (Protozoa, Ciliophora) from an oligotrophic lake in Austria. J Eukaryot Microbiol 51:670-677
coverage University of Innsbruck 

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