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In memoriam John Dittami (1949 - 2014)

John Dittami, behavioural endocinologist, and ornithologist, Professor of
ethology at the University of Vienna Faculty of Life Sciences, and
scientific director of the Konrad Lorenz Forschungsstelle in Grünau,
passed away Wednesday, August 27 in the age of 65.
After Konrad Lorenz died in 1989, John Dittami was instrumental to prevent
the closing of the KLF, with his typical mixture of optimism, creativity,
and enthousiasm and a fair measure of stubbornness. It was him who
re-establish scientific operations at the KLF in connection with the
University of Vienna and it was him who hired the staff who run the KLF
ever since. Thereby he provided the base for scientific continuity carried
by a close connection between the University of Vienna and the State of
Upper Austria. Finally, this resulted in establishing  the KLF as a "Core
Facility" of the University of Vienna.
In 1990 it was rather a return to Grünau for John. More than 40 years ago,
as a student of Boston Med School he hit the KLF in Grünau and Konrad
Lorenz, more or less by chance on his way South, trying to walk from
Frankfurt airport to the biological research station in Naples. Just one
example of the many heroic attempts in his life. This navigation error and
meeting Konrad Lorenz changed his life. He switched to biology and with
his research into the behavioural endocrinology in birds, which he started
in Grünau and continued at the MPI in Seewiesen, he managed to make a
living from his passion. After becoming a professor at Vienna University
he established several lines of comparative behavioural endocrinology at
the KLF and at his Department in Vienna.
John not only was an incredibly spirit for all his colleagues and friends,
he also was a rich and multifacet personality. In parallel to science and
academia he was pretty serious with the pleasant sides of life, being an
able guitar player and singer at parties, a professional field
ornithologist, a demanding hiking guide and a pretty tough and devoted
marathon runner. We all owe him quite a lot and will always keep memories
of John full of friendship and respect. Incomprehensible that he seems to
be gone forever. But who knows?

New students at the KLF

We welcome Luigi Stival, Erasmus student from the University of Udine (Italy)! Luigi is writing his Bachelor thesis on the behaviour of Northern bald ibis pairs at the nest.

We welcome Nathalie Rodenwald, Bachelor student at the Freie Universität of Berlin! Nathalie is a long-term internship and will work with greylag goose families.

We welcome Klara Füreder, Bachelor student at the University of Vienna! Klara is a long-term internship and will work together with Nathalie with greylag goose families.


Children's University

The KLF is the initiator and co-organizer of the first Children’s University in the valley, the KinderUniAlmtal as one of the six Children’s University of the region Upper Austria.
"ask.search.want-to-know” is the slogan of the first "KinderUniAlmtal" which will take place in July, from 9th to 11th offering 30 different workshops for children aged between 5 and 14. Many partners of the region are involved in it.


Biologicum Almtal

We are pleased to announce the first Biologicum Almtal (LINK to www.biologicum-almtal.at) which is an event for the popular science and the scientific research to be held annually in Grünau. Here you will find the program for the "Biologicum Almtal 2014" with a series of attractive speakers and other enjoyable features.


Methods in Field research

For the third time we held a four-days practical course "Methods in field research" of the University of Vienna at the KLF. Apart from the theoretical background students learned how to catch, handle, identify and ring birds for scientific surveys, as well as the basics for using wildlife telemetry.


Springtime at the KLF

This year's first goslings already hatched!



New Book: The Social Life of Greylag Geese

We are very happy to announce the publication of a new book wirtten by members and former members of our research station. A synthesis of more than 20 years of behavioural research:

The Social Life of Greylag GeeseThe Social Life of Greylag Geese
Patterns, Mechanisms and Evolutionary Function in an Avian Model System


  • Isabella B. R. Scheiber, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, The Netherlands

  • Brigitte Weiß, Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen, Germany

  • Josef Hemetsberger, Konrad Lorenz Forschungsstelle, Austria

  • Kurt Kotrschal, Konrad Lorenz Forschungsstelle, Austria

Cambridge University Press 2013

Teaching at the KLF - Courses of the Vienna University

Konrad Lorenz Forschungsstelle
Fischerau 11
4645 Grünau

University of Vienna | Universitätsring 1 | 1010 Vienna | T +43-1-4277-0