Current research projects

FWF P 25883-N29 - Smart-Geology for the World’s largest fossil oyster reef

Project leader: Priv. Doz. Dr. Mathias Harzhauser

Duration: 10/2013 - 12/2016


The application of modern data processing and visualization technologies in geology and paleontology is still in its infancy. Within the project we open a new field we call “Smart Geology”, which is characterized by automation and large volumes of data. This will be performed in a key-study focusing on the world’s largest fossil oyster biostrome, which is the highlight of the geopark “Fossilienwelt Weinviertel” at Stetten in Lower Austria.



FWF P25365-B25 - Freshwater systems in the Neogene and Quaternary of Europe: Gastropod biodiversity, provinciality, and faunal gradients

Project leader: Priv. Doz. Mag. Dr. Mathias Harzhauser

Duration: 02/2013 - 02/2016


This study will provide the first detailed assessment of the composition of European freshwater gastropods during the Neogene and Quaternary at species, genus and family levels. A major aim is to map and define a statistics-based Pan-European palaeobiogeography and palaeobiodiversity of Neogene to Quaternary freshwater systems.

FWF P25884-N29 - Active tectonics and recent dynamics of micro-displacements along major fault systems of the Eastern Alps registered in caves (SPELEOTECT)

Project leader: Mag. Dr. Lukas Plan
Duration: 11/2013 - 12/2017

This research project represents the first comprehensive investigation of quaternary tectonics and recent dynamics of micro-displacements along major fault systems in the Eastern Alps carried out in caves. The obtained data are a major contribution to the updating of the earthquake catalogues in the area and essential for earthquake hazard maps. 


FWF P29508-B25 - Phylogeny and evolution of edible sea urchins (Echinoidea: Camarodonta)

Project leader: Mag. Dr. Andreas Kroh
Duration: 12/2016 - 11/2019

The project aims to resolve the phylogeny and evolution of camarodont echinoids with the help of phylogenomic methods together with data from their fossil record in order to better understand the diversification of this commercially exploited group of sea urchins.


cooperation projects

Schools & Quakes

Project leader: em. Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Ewald Brückl
Duration: 10/2014 - 9/2016

Schools increase or knowledge about local earthquakes - Seismometers installed at schools as well as related tutorials and educational projects represent valuable contributions to seismological research in many countries. The Mürz Valley and the southern Vienna Basin were selected as project areas because of their relatively high earthquake hazard and risk. Students maintain the seismic stations installed at or near their schools and provide valuable scientific contributions. Through this project they will gain a sound understanding of earthquake phenomena and their impact on the society.


NÖ-Karst – Digital karstgeomorphologcal map of Lower Austria

Project leader: Mag. Dr. Lukas Plan
Duration: 01/2017 - 12/2018

The term karst describes landscapes formed from the dissolution of easily soluble rocks (gypsum, limestone and dolomite) and characterized by underground drainage systems with sinkholes and caves and by special features on the surface. Often these natural phenomena cause problems for building projects, on the other hand many karst springs are used for water supply and numerous karst features are natural monuments.
This project aims at digitising, homogenising and revising various existing maps of karst features. Literature research, analysis of 1-m-laserscan-data and selected field trips will help to create a digital map for all of Lower Austria (scale 1:25,000) about the distribution of karst and karstic features such as sinkholes, ponors, karst springs, caves  and karren. This map will be implemented into the GIS of the government of Lower Austria to be used by its employees.


Dokumentation of karst features and caves in the catchment of Vienna's water supply

Project leader: Mag. Dr. Lukas Plan
Duration: 01/2008 - ongoing

During this study of caves in the catchment area of Vienna’s water supply will be explored, surveyed and documented. Furthermore, presentations and publications will inform the public about the project and the sensitivity of headwaters.
Most important for the Vienna Waterworks are the obtained data from karst caves about the hydrological and geologic-tectonical relations of the saturated and unsaturated zones in karst. These data provide a key parameter for the evaluation of the vulnerability to pollutants, for the planning of tracer tests, and for geological profile sections as well as hydrological models.
Numerous explored caves are not located by exact coordinates. In order to feed them into a GIS their geographic coordinates will be obtained.