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INSTITUTE OF SPORT SCIENCE

Sport Ecology

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Thesis topics

Sports / User behaviour of athletes and their effects on the environmentHide

Sport and physical movement are essential elements of human existence and are nowadays often conducted in nature. Sport in the great outdoors is a basis for physical performance, offers compensation for the modern lack of physical exercise, promotes social vitality and is an element of a fulfilled leisure time, especially for young people. The care and preservation of nature and the environment, as the basis for these and many other activities, is therefore a vital interest of outdoor sports and at the same time it is also the responsibility of the athletes and the sports industry.
Reliable studies on the effects of sport and the behaviour of sportspeople can contribute to the development of sustainable sports and management strategies.

 

  • Quantitative assessment of the user behaviour of athletes using digitally available data sources

The spatio-temporal user behaviour of athletes will be quantified using various freely accessible data sources. Results from different data sources such as fitness apps or other social media platforms (automatic image analysis, text analysis etc.) will be compared.

Type of Thesis: Bachelor/Master

 Person to contact: Anne-Maria Schweizer

  • Influence of canoeing on the vegetation structure in running waters

The effects of the visitor frequency of several rivers on the respective vegetation structure shall be recorded and analysed.

Type of Thesis: Master

Person to contact: Anne-Maria Schweizer

  • Mass sporting events on islands

The development of mass sporting events on islands is analysed at a global scale. How can these impacts island ecosystems, biodiversity and conservation efforts?

Type of Thesis: Bachelor/Master

Person to contact: Anna Walentowitz

  • Influence of water sports on the distribution of waterfowl in the Baltic Sea

Quantitative data on water sports in combination with monitoring data on birds for the area around the island of Ruden (Baltic Sea) will be evaluated in order to analyse the disturbance effect of sailing, stand-up paddling and motorboats on bird life.

Type of Thesis: Master

Person to contact: Anna Walentowitz

  • Ecological consequences of sport hunting and fishing

Review on “ancient” sports like hunting and fishing in respect to their ecological impacts. The focus can be set on specific regions or species (e.g. specific non-native species introduced for hunting purposes).

Type of Thesis: Bachelor/Master

Person to contact: Anna Walentowitz

  • How do outdoor recreational activities influence red-listed threatened species?

Data from IUCN Red Lists is being analysed in respect to different sport activities threatening species. The focus can be laid on different regions, sport activities or species groups.

Type of Thesis: Bachelor/Master

 Person to contact: Anna Walentowitz

  • Influence of alpine sports on activity patterns of wildlife

Camera traps are applied to detect and analyze spatial and temporal patterns of wildlife and outdoor athletes, such as cross country skiers, mountain bikers and hikers, in mountainous ecosystems. Thereby possible effects shall be examined in order to develop suggestions and strategies for the improvement of current management techniques.

Type of Thesis: Bachelor/Master

Person to contact: Veronika Mitterwallner

  • Dispersal potential of spermatophytes by means of outdoor sports

Germination experiments shall assess the potential of shoe soles or bicycle tires of outdoor athletes to spread germinable material. In addition, affected species shall be determined.

Type of Thesis: Bachelor/Master

Person to contact: Veronika Mitterwallner

  • Vegetation patterns on mountain peaks and identification of the means of import

Vegetation patterns on highly frequented and remote mountain tops will be assessed in field studies and compared to evaluate the imput potential of outdoor athletes.

Type of Thesis: Master

Person to contact: Veronika Mitterwallner

  • Compensation measures in care of habitat loss in consequence of outdoor sports or mass sporting events

This work focuses on the quantification of various compensation measures within outdoor sports and mass sporting events.

Type of Thesis: Bachelor/Master

Person to contact: Veronika Mitterwallner

User and visitor guidanceHide

Visitor guidance refers to measures influencing visitors with regard to their spatial, temporal and quantitative distribution as well as their behaviour and attitudes towards protected areas and ecosystems. With the help of visitor guidance, negative effects on the objects of concern shall be minimized and furthermore, the highest quality possible of recreation and experience shall be guaranteed. In order to implement a sustainable visitor guidance system, measures, their handling and effectiveness should be assessed and monitored.

 

  • Indirect visitor guidance on rivers

Indirect visitor guidance on rivers by obstacles or specifically offered activities allows to relieve sensitive areas. The effectiveness of these measures and their use in management will be investigated.

Type of Thesis: Bachelor/Master

Person to contact: Anne-Maria Schweizer

  • Rules and argumentation for usage restrictions in canoeing

Existing rules as well as the underlying argumentation for usage restrictions in canoeing on various rivers in Europe will be compiled and compared with the current level of scientific knowledge.

Type of Thesis: Master (subsections potentially suitable as Bachelor theses)

Person to contact: Anne-Maria Schweizer

Effects of climate change on sports and sports facilitiesHide

Climate change affects our environment and therefore also sports. This is most clearly visible in winter sports: in many places missing or insufficient snowfall has to be compensated with artificial snow or former ski resorts and lifts have to close down due to these conditions. However, climate change does not only affect winter conditions and winter sports, but also other sports and the sports industry. This field of sports ecology is dedicated to research the effects of climate change on athletes, sports and sports facilities. 

 

  • Effects of climate change on existing ski areas

Climate change is increasing the pressure on snow safety in many ski areas. Based on snow cover evaluations in Germany and overlapping location data of ski areas (open street map), the aim of this thesis is to assess how affected ski areas react to decreased snow safety and how many of them are already pushed beyond existential limits.

Type of Thesis: Bachelor

Person to contact: Veronika Mitterwallner

  • Comparison of climate models and remote sensing data to assess the actual effects of climate change on skiing resorts

Global climate models predict a general decrease in snow cover days for many existing ski areas, which is directly affecting skiing economy in those regions. In this thesis, the goal is to verify model predictions by comparing snow cover evaluation based on those models with remote sensing data (MODIS) and calculating the degree of conformity.

Type of Thesis: Master

Person to contact: Anna Walentowitz

  • Quantification of the climatic niche of ski sports

Climate change is globally increasing the pressure on snow safety in many ski areas. Therefore, the aim of this thesis is to quantify the climatic niche for alpine skiing by modelling spatial and climatic requirements for alpine skiing. Additionally, large-scale differences worldwide and the influence of climate change on the niche are to be identified. Moreover, assessing the overlap of the alpine skiing niche and nature protection zones is another goal of this thesis.

Type of Thesis: Master

Person to contact: Anna Walentowitz

Local and global distribution patterns of sports and sport related actionsHide

The development of modern sport and its local and global patterns from its beginnings to the present day shows clear dynamics. This concerns the numbers of sports, the number of athletes and facilities an the number of sports organizations such as clubs and associations. There are about 500 sports worldwide, but only relatively few of them have managed to achieve a comprehensive international spread. The speed, extent and constancy of the diffusion of sports is strongly linked to the flow of people, environmental factors, technology, money and ideologies, making the development of modern sports a part of the worldwide globalization. Against this background, the international sports is examined on an evolutionary, economic and environmental basis.

 

  • Abandoned ski lifts

Patterns in ski lift establishment and abandonment will be linked to external drivers. The fate of abandoned ski lifts and the current use of the former ski slopes will be investigated

Type of Thesis: Bachelor/Master

Person to contact: Manuel Steinbauer/Veronika Mitterwallner

  • Assessing the distribution patterns of specific sports (e.g. ski slopes, soccer fields)

With the use of OpenStreetMap data, distribution patterns of specific sports facilities such as ski slopes will be modelled. Based on this, spatial variables determining this distribution will be identified.

Type of Thesis: Master

Person to contact: Veronika Mitterwallner/Anna Walentowitz

PaeoecologyHide

Paleoecology is the study of the way of life of fossil organisms, fossil habitats and their communities as well as their relationships and dependencies to their environment.

  • Megafaunal extinctions in the Late Quaternary

The extinction of many elephant species appears closely connected to human arrival. This project links fossil occurrences with environmental variables to quantify the potential distribution of extinct elephant species.

Type of Thesis: Bachelor/Master

Person to contact: Manuel Steinbauer

Sport sciences and the job marketHide

 The job market in the field of sports has become highly differentiated in recent decades and offers today’s graduates of sports science a wide range of different fields of activity. This also means a change in the sought-after job profiles in relation to the skills and teaching content of the studies and the success of various graduate’s career strategies. In order to be able to systematically introduce these skills and the required expertise to the job market, sports science studies and training courses must be continuously reviewed and consistently adapted to existing as well as newly developing fields of work and professions in the sports system.

  • Changes in the requirement profile of sport scientists

With the use of automatic text analyses on job advertisements, changes in the requirement profiles for sports scientists will be analysed. A focus will be set on analytic skills in order to adapt future trainings and education in sports science according to the findings.

Type of Thesis: Master

Person to contact: Manuel Steinbauer


Webmaster: Veronika Mitterwallner

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