The White-backed Woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucotos) is a top predator in the saproxylic food web and is highly dependent on forests dominated by broadleaved trees with high amount of dead wood. Moreover, according to former studies, this bird species is considered as an umbrella species for beetles in Scandinavians countries but its status remains unclear in Central Europe.
To disentangle and highlight the potential key role of those organisms (i.e. saproxylic beetles or the White-backed Woodpecker itself) for conservation guidelines, I am studying the insect’s communities occurring inside and outside of the home ranges of this bird species. The core study of my PhD is located in Austria, Liechtenstein and Eastern Switzerland. A second project, heading to study beetles communities related to the White-backed Woodpecker habitats using colonization substrates along a vertical gradient started at the European scale with the “Sab.Strat” project (https://sabstrat.weebly.com/).
This PhD work is a collaboration between the Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH-HAFL), the University of Bern (Institute of Ecology and Evolution - Conservation Biology) and the Swiss Ornithological Institute in Sempach.