Myles picMyles Menz (Group Leader) 

Myles’ research interests involve landscape ecology, animal movement, and community ecology. In particular, this encompasses the ecological and evolutionary drivers of migration in insects, the implications of migratory individuals for communities, and the ecology and conservation of mobile ecosystem services, such as pollination. Google Scholar page Researchgate

20141102_Bretolet-VS-CH_MThoma_15asMarco Thoma (PhD Candidate 2015–) Unravelling pathways of insect migration in Europe using stable isotopes and citizen science data.

Marco has a broad interest in biodiversity research, animal movement ecology and migratory behaviour. In his PhD Marco is focusing on insect migration in Europe using different approaches such as stable isotope analysis, citizen science and mark-recapture methods, to explore flyways, ecology and behaviour of migratory insects. He is also interested in the potential effects that migrating insects have on their environment, especially on other taxa like bats and birds. Google Scholar page


Kit Prendergast (External PhD Candidate 2016–) Determinants of native bee assemblages in urban habitat fragments in the southwest Australian biodiversity hotspot and interactions between honeybees (Apis mellifera) and native plant-pollinator communities. Co-supervisors: Prof. Kingsley Dixon and Dr Bill Bateman (Curtin University, Western Australia).

Kit’s PhD, funded by the Forrest Scholarship Award, involves investigating which native bees occur in the Perth metropolitan area, located in the Southwest Australian Floristic Region, an internationally renowned biodiversity hotspot. She will be identifying which local and landscape features, such as habitat type (bushland remnant vs. residential garden), floristic diversity and abundance of native and non-native plants, nesting substrate availability, and amount of built-up area in the matrix, determine the diversity, abundance, and community composition of native bees. She will also be investigating interactions between the introduced European honeybee Apis mellifera with native bees, to resolve the ongoing controversy over whether the exotic honeybee has a detrimental impact on native bees and pollinator networks.

‘Bees in the ‘burbs in a biodiversity hotspot’ Facebook Group page for her ‘Citizen Science’ component of the project.

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Hasan Candan (Masters student 2014–) The effect of altitude on the structure of pollination networks.





Silvio Crameri (Masters student 2015–) Body fat and the fueling of migration in hoverflies.





Laura Dällenbach (Masters student 2015–) The influence of phenotype on flight behaviour in a migratory insect.

I am interested in partial migration in a migratory insect, Episyrphus balteatus. More specifically, I am looking at flight behaviour in overwintering versus migrating hoverflies, since very little is known about what causes a certain behaviour (overwintering or migrating) in these animals. Flight behaviour is investigated with flight mills that record speed and distance flown by individual hoverflies.



Lisa Fisler (Masters student 2015–) How does weather effect migration strength of hoverflies?





Alexandra Glauser (Masters student 2015–) Long term patterns of hoverfly migration in Great Britain.




Version 3Aline Knoblauch (Masters student 2016–) Orientation and migration phenology of dragonflies.

For my master thesis I am investigating the effects of weather on migration intensity and behaviour of dragonflies in the Ornithological Station of Pape, in Latvia. The dragonflies are caught mainly using the heligoland trap of the station, a large flight interception trap. Dragonflies captured in the traps are also colour-marked to gain insight into migratory pathways in Europe.

For more information on the marking, visit the project page.


Matthias Kyburz (Masters student 2015–) The importance of balcony plants for increasing biodiversity in cities. Co-supervisor: Dr Eva Knop





Raquel Lázaro (Masters student 2014–) Does the extent of urbanisation influence colony growth and foraging of bumblebees? Co-supervisor: Dr Eva Knop





Leigh Martens (Masters student 2016–) Dispersal and population dynamics of dragonflies.

Investigating the population dynamics and dispersal distance of the common Cordulegaster boltonii and the rare Cordulegaster bidentata. This study will be carried out using mark and recapture methods and extensive field observations.




Jannic Odermatt (Masters student 2014–) Constant behavioural tendencies in hoverflies and the impact of partial migration. Co-supervisor: Dr Joachim Frommen

I have always been fascinated by the interaction between animal behaviour and ecology. For my Master thesis, I am investigating whether there are constant behavioural tendencies in hoverflies and if this is related to partial migration.


Former group members

Katrin Luder (Masters student 2014–2016) Effects of urbanisation on hoverfly communities and morphological traits. Co-supervisor: Dr Eva Knop.

Sandro Meyer (Masters thesis, 2014–2015) The effect of mowing regimes on hoverfly communities in lowland grasslands. Co-supervisor: Dr Jean-Yves Humbert.

Thomas Obrist (Masters thesis, 2013–2014) The role of invasive plants and ornamental garden flowers in an urban pollination networks. Co-supervisor: Dr Eva Knop.

Amanda Folkö (Bachelor thesis, 2014) The relationship between body size and dry weight in hoverflies (Syrphidae), and their movements along an urban linear landscape element.

Kevin Ingold (Bachelor thesis, 2014) Does body size influence movement distance in terrestrial spiders?