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I am member of the “Arbeitsgruppe für Stoffwechselphysiologie und Verhalten“, division „Ecological and behavioral physiology”.
In my research I work in close cooperation with Anton Stabentheiner. The main field of our interest are the thermal biology, energetics and respiration of insects, especially honeybees and wasps. We investigate the thermal behavior of single individuals as well as the social thermoregulation in the colony to get knowledge about the regulatory mechanisms of colonial thermoregulation.
For an energetic view on foraging efficiency we perform ecophysiological investigations of foraging bees and wasps in the field, including temperature and respiration measurements. The aim of these studies is to understand the energetic optimization strategies of insects during foraging and to develop a theoretical model of the thermodynamic and energetic processes.
A further field of our research is the respiration physiology of insects. We investigate the temperature dependent mechanisms of respiration and its thermal limits. This field of research is of special interest for the assessment of fitness and survival of insects in a changing environment due to global warming.


1. No P20802-B16 of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) – “Energetics and thermoregulation of foraging wasps and bees under natural conditions”.

 2. No P25042-B16 of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) – “The critical thermal tolerance traits of respiration and the energy metabolism of native and invasive insects“.

For further information see also website of Anton Stabentheiner: http://www.uni-graz.at/~stabenta/a-stabentheiner.html;

Priv.-Doz. Dr.phil.

Helmut Kovac

Institut für Biologie

University Graz
Universitätsplatz 2, 8010 Graz

Phone:+43 316 380 - 5705

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