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Head of Laboratory: Prof., Dr. biol. Viesturs Melecis,

e-mail: viesturs.melecis@lulv

Research in the Laboratory is focused on the assessment of anthropogenic impacts on communities and ecosystems. The Laboratory tackles methodological problems of impact assessment based on biological indicators. Methods of environmental assessment by phytoindicators, communities of soil organisms and insects are being developed. The Laboratory is involved in the International Long-term Ecological Research (ILTER) Network and in Europe Long Term Ecological Research subnetwork. The Laboratory coordinates long-term ecological research projects of the National LTER Network of Latvia. Long-term changes of pine forest ecosystems and coastal meadow ecosystems on the background of climate warming and human influence have been investigated since 1992. The platform of Long Term Socioecological Research (LT(S)ER platform) has been founded in 2003. The Laboratory also works on taxonomy, ecology, distribution, and biodiversity of several groups of insects and soil organisms – earthworms, enchytraeids, springtails, soil mites, and Diptera. The Laboratory provides expertise in the field of biodiversity conservation, taxonomy of selected groups of organisms, environmental assessment. 

 Laboratory staff:  


Academic degree, position

e-mail address

Field of research

Viesturs Melecis

Dr.biol., Professor, Leading researcher 

Environmental ecology, Soil ecology, Collembola, data analysis, methodological problems of bioindication

Aina Karpa

Dr.biol., Researcher

Diptera, taxonomy, fauna, ecology

Ineta Salmane

Dr.biol., Researcher

Gamasina mites taxonomy, fauna, ecology

Edīte Juceviča

M. Sc., Researcher

Collembola taxonomy, fauna, ecology

Uģis Kagainis

Dr.biol., Researcher

Oribatid mites, taxonomy, fauna, ecology

Inese Cera

Dr.biol., Researcher

Spiders, Aranea, fauna, ecology

Ināra Melece

M. Sc., Scient. assistant

Environmental ecology

Each year several students of Faculty of Geography and Earth Sciences, University of Latvia Faculty of Biology are working in the laboratory on their bachelor’s and master’s works. 

Recent Research projects

  • Changes in species diversity on the background of fluctuations of climatic and anthropogenic factors (Long-term Project funded by Latvian Council of Science, 2009-2013, project leader Prof. V. Melecis)
  • Development of conceptual integrated model of socioeconomic biodiversity pressures, drivers and impacts for the long-term socioecological research platform of Latvia (Long-term Co-operative Project funded by Latvian Council of Science, Project leaders Prof. V. Melecis, 2010-2014)

Long-Term Ecosystem Research  

  1. HORIZON  2020 project eLTER -  European Long-Term Ecosystem and Socio-Ecological Research Infrastructure.  (2015. - 2019. g.) (project leader Viesturs Melecis).
  2. HORIZON2020 project Advance-LTER „Advancing the European Long-Term Ecosystem, critical zone and socio-ecological Research Infrastructure towards ESFRI” (2016.-2018. g.) (project leader Viesturs Melecis).

Long-Term Ecosystem Research (LTER) is an essential component of world-wide efforts to better understand ecosystems and the environment we depend on. Through research and long-term observation of representative sites around the globe, LTER enhances our understanding of the structure and functions of ecosystems, which provide essential services to people. LTER contributes to the knowledge base informing policy and to the development of management options in response to the Grand Challenges under Global Change.

LTER capitalizes on research infrastructures such as the in-situ network of sites and information technology. Thousands of research projects have been carried out taking advantage of this infrastructure. The increasing complexity of ecosystem research led to the networking and global organization of LTER.

Mainline scientific results

Since 1992 laboratory performs ecological research of various components of ecosystems affected by the anthropogenic factors and climate warming. Effects of long-term climate change on soil mesofauna have been analyzed within the framework of long-term research project (1992-2002) of the National LTER network. Studies of soil mesofauna were performed in Scots pine forests of different age.Species richness of Collembola and Gamasina mites significantly decreased during the period of investigations. The main factors responsible for changes in mesofauna were positive temperature sums (above +4oC) and soil moisture. Predatory Gamasina mites were indirectly affected by the temperature increase via changes in their main prey  – collembolans. Enchytraeids were mainly affected by soil moisture. Soil mesofauna appeared to be sensitive to climate warming and fluctuations of soil moisture. It can be affected by climate warming directly and indirectly via changes in their food supply.

Test culture of duck-weed  Spirodela polyrrhyza is under use for assessment of water and soil quality. The method of mapping of environmental stress by phytoindicators was worked out. Regular assessment of the territory of Latvia was performed several times since 1991. Investigations of bioindicational significance of several taxonomic groups of  invertebrates have been performed.

 Significant contribution to the knowledge of Latvian fauna of flies (Diptera), springtails (Collembola), soil mites Acari, Mesostigmata), and encytraeids (Encytraeidae) has been made.

Mainline scientific publications (2000-2015)

 TELNOV, D. and SALMANE, I., 2015. Ecology and diversity of urban pine forest soil invertebrates in Riga, Latvia. Proceedings of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, Section B: Natural, Exact, and Applied Sciences, 69(3), pp. 120-131.

MINOVA, S., JANKEVICA, L., SALMANE, I. and ČEKSTERE, G., 2015. Preliminary studies on microbial biomass and the microarthropod community as soil health and quality indicators in Urban Grasslands, Riga as an example. Proceedings of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, Section B: Natural, Exact, and Applied Sciences, 69(3), pp. 140-144.

Salmane, I., and Spuņģis, V. (2015). Factors Influencing Mesostigmata Mites (Acari, Parasitiformes) In The Alkaline Fen Habitats. In Proceedings of the Latvian Academy of Sciences. Section B. Natural, Exact, and Applied Sciences. 69(1/2), pp. 50-56.

CAPLIGINA, V., BERZINA, I., BORMANE, A., SALMANE, I., VILKS, K., KAZARINA, A., BANDERE, D., BAUMANIS, V. and RANKA, R., 2015. Prevalence and phylogenetic analysis of Babesia spp. in Ixodes ricinus and Ixodes persulcatus ticks in Latvia. Experimental and Applied Acarology, .

Kagainis, U., 2014. A morphometrical study of oribatid mites (acari: Oribatida) of the genus carabodes C.L. koch, 1835 (carabodidae) using a confocal laser scanning microscope: An alternative approach to quantitative analysis of various features. Zoomorphology, 133(2), 227-236. doi:10.1007/s00435-014-0216-9

ZARIŅŠ, M.. BLUMBERGA, A., KĻAVIŅŠ, M.and MELECIS, V. (2014l). Dynamic Modeling for Environmental Processes: A Case Study of Lake Engure. Proceedings of the Latvian Academy of Sciences. Sect. B.  68(1/2),pp. 20-30.

MELECIS, V., KARPA, A. and VILKS, K., 2014. Increase in abundance and species richness of flies (Diptera, Brachycera) in the Lake Engure Nature Park, Latvia: Effects of climate warming? Proceedings of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, Section B: Natural, Exact, and Applied Sciences, 68(1-2), pp. 46-67.

MELECIS, V., KĻAVIŅŠ, M., RŪSIŅA, S., SPRIŅĢE, G., VĪKSNE, J., KRIŠJĀNE Z. and STRĀĶE, S. 2014. Conceptual model of the Long-term SocioEcological Research Platform of Engure ecoregion, Latvia. Proc. Latvian Academy of Sciences, Sect.B, 68(1/2), pp 1-19.

KAZARINA, A., JAPIŅA, K., KEIŠS, O., SALMANE, I., BANDERE, D., CAPLIGINA, V. and RANKA, R., 2015. Detection of tick-b encephalitis virus in I. ricinus ticks collected from autumn migratory birds in Latvia. Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases, 6(2), pp. 178-180.

CAPLIGINA, V., SALMANE, I., KEIŠS, O., VILKS, K., JAPINA, K., BAUMANIS, V. and RANKA, R., 2014. Prevalence of tick-borne pathogens in ticks collected from migratory birds in Latvia. Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases, 5(1), pp. 75-81.

DICK, J., AL-ASSAF, A., ANDREWS, C., DÍAZ-DELGADO, R., GRONER, E., HALADA, L., IZAKOVIČOVÁ, Z., KERTÉSZ, M., KHOURY, F., KRASIĆ, D., KRAUZE, K., MATTEUCCI, G., MELECIS, V., MIRTL, M., ORENSTEIN, D.E., PREDA, E., SANTOS-REIS, M., SMITH, R.I., VADINEANU, A., VESELIĆ, S. and VIHERVAARA, P., 2014. Ecosytem services: A rapid assessment method tested at 35 sites of the LTER-Europe network. Ekologia Bratislava, 33(3), pp. 217-231.

MELECIS, V. and KĻAVINŠ, M. (2013) Socioecological Solutions to the Problem of Biodiversity Decline. Kļaviņš, M., Melecis, V. (red.),  Grām.: Cilvēks un Daba: Engures Ekoreģions. LU Akad. apgāds, 18-28.

MELECIS, V. and KĻAVINŠ, M. (2013) Biodaudzveidības samazināšanās: problēmas sociālekoloģiskie risinājumi. Kļaviņš, M., Melecis, V. (red.),   Grām: Cilvēks un Daba: Engures Ekoreģions. LU Akad. apgāds, 7- 17.

MELECIS, V. and KĻAVINŠ, M. (red.) (2013) Cilvēks un Daba: Engures Ekoreģions. LU Akad.apgāds, 423.

MELECIS, V., KARPA, A.  and VILKS, K. (2013) Divspārņu (Diptera, Bracycera) skaita un sugu bagātības izmaiņas Engures ezera dabas parkā uz antriopogēno faktoru un klimata pasiltināšanās fona. Kļaviņš, M., Melecis, V. (red.), Grām.: Cilvēks un Daba: Engures Ekoreģions. LU Akad. apgāds, 223-248.

CERA, I. and SPUŅĢIS, V. (2013) Fauna and seasonal activity of spiders  (Araneae) in coastal dune habitats at Akmensrags, Ziemupe Nature restricted territory, Latvia. Latvijas Entomologs, (52), pp. 84–95.

CERA, I.  (2013) Fauna and distribution of spiders at Randu meadows, Baltic Sea coast of the Gulf of Riga, Latvia. Latvijas Entomologs, (52), pp. 68–83.

SALMANE, I., APENĪTE, I. and CIEMATNIEKS, R.(2013) Environmentally friendly organic products and onion pests in  Latvia. Acta biologica universitartis Daugavpiliensis, 13(1), pp. 101-108.

VIHERVAARA, P., D’AMATO, D., FORSIUS, M., ANGELSTAM, P., BAESSLER, C., BALVANERA, P., BAZLTSEREN, B., BOURGERON, P., DICK. J., KANKA, R., KLOTZ, S., MAASS, M., MELECIS, V., PETRIK, P., SHIBD, H., TANG, J., THOMPSON, J. and ZACHARIAS, S. 2013. Using long-term ecosystem service and biodiversity data to study the impacts and adaptation options in response to climate change: insights from the global ILTER sites network. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 5(1), 53-66. 

Kagainis U. 2012. Revision and renovation of oribatid mites (Acari: Oribatida) specimen collection of Institute of Biology, Latvia. Environmental and Experimental Biology, 10, pp. 67-75.

 Kagainis U. 2012. Revision and renovation of oribatid mites (Acari: Oribatida) specimen collection of Institute of Biology, Latvia.Environmental and Experimental Biology, 10:67-75.

Salmane I., 2012.Ticks (Acari, Ixodida: Ixodidae, Amblyommidae) ofLatvia.  Latvijas Entomologs, 51: 153-155.

Melecis V., Krišjāne Z., Kļaviņš M.,  Aigars J., Elferts D., Vīksne J. 2011. Preliminary Characteristics of Ecological and Socioeconomic Components and its Interactions within the Long Term Socioecological  Research Platform of Latvia, The Scientific Journal of Riga Technical University, 13 N 7:87-91.

Melecis V. 2011. Development of conceptual integrated model of socioeconomic biodiversity pressures, drivers and impacts for the long-term socioecological research platform of Latvia. Proc. Latvian  Acad. Sci., Sect. B, 65, N5/6:206-212.

Melece I., Karpa A., Laiviņš M., Melecis V. 2011. Environmental quality assessment of the drainage basin of lake Engure by using Scots pine as bioindicator. Proc. Latvian  Acad. Sci., Sect. B, 65, N5/6:178-185.

Kagainis U., 2011. Revision of the Checklist of Latvian Oribatid Mites (Acari: Oribatida), with Notes on Previous Studies and New Species for the Fauna of Latvia. Latvijas Entomologs 50: 31-40.

 Karpa A. 2011. New Species for the fauna of Latvia (Diptera, Brachycera). Latvijas Entomologs , 50:61-62.

 Cera I., Spuņģis V. 2011. Seasonal activity of wolf spiders (Araneae: Lycosidae) in coastal dune habitats at Akmensrags – Ziemupe Nature Reserve, Latvia). Experimental and Environmental Biology 9:91–97.

Melecis V., Krišjāne Z., Kļaviņš M., Aigars J., Elferts D., Vīksne J. 2011. Preliminary characteristics of ecological and socioeconomic components and their interaction within the long term socioecological research platform of Latvia. Scientific Journal ofRiga Technical University. Series: Environmental and Climate Technologies, 12, N7:87-93

 Cera I., Spuņģis V., Melecis V., 2010. Occurrence of grass-dwelling spiders in habitats of Lake Engure Nature Park. Environmental and Experimental Biology, vol. 8, N1/4: 59-69.

Koehler,H. Melecis,V. 2010. Long-term observations of soil mesofauna. In: Eds F. Müller, C.Baessler H.Schubert, and S.Klotz. Long term ecological research : between theory and application, Springer, 112-130.

 Cera I. 2009. Four Spider (Araneae) Species New to the Fauna of Latvia.  Latvijas Entomologs, 47: 93-94.

Salmane I., Telnov D., 2009. Mesostigmata Mites (Acari: Parasitiformes) fauna Associated with Beetles (Insecta: Coleoptera) in Latvia. Latvijas Entomologs, 47, 58-70.

 Salmane, I., 2009. Some New and Rare Mesostigmata (Acari, Parasitiformes) in the Fauna of Latvia. Latvijas Entomologs 47: 71-75.

 Karpa A., 2008.  Catalogue of Latvian Flies (Diptera, Brachycera). Latvijas Entomologs, 46: 4-43.

 Jaunbauere, G., Salmane, I., Spuņģis, V., 2008. Occurrence of Bat Ectoparasites inLatvia. Latvijas Entomologs 45: 38-42.
Salmane, I., Whitehead, P.F., 2008. Hypoaspis (Gymnolaelaps) myrmophila (Michael, 1891) (Acari, Parasitiformes, Mesostigmata, Laelaptidae) on a cultivatedapple tree (Malus domestica Borkh.) on the Lassithi plain, Kriti, Greece. Entomologist’s Monthly Magazine 144: 251-253.
Kontschán, J., Salmane, I., 2008. New records of the Uropodina mites of Latvia and description of two new species (Acari: Mesostigmata). Genus 19/2: 335-341.
Salmane, I., Brūmelis, G., 2008. The importance of the feather moss layer of boreal coniferous forests in sustaining biological diversity of soil fauna.Pedobiologia 52: 69-76

 Šīre J., Kļaviņš M., Purmalis O., Melecis V., (2008). Experimental study of peat humification indicators. Proc. Latvian Acad. Sc., Ser B, 62, 1/2 : 18-26.

Baranovska A., 2007. A Checklist of Latvian Oribatida. Latvijas Entomologs, 44: 5-10.

Salmane I., 2007. Mesostigmata Mite (Acari, Parasitiformes) Fauna of Wood Related Habitats in Latvia. Latvijas Entomologs, 44: 75-92.

Salmane I., 2007. New and Rare Mesostigmata Mites (Acari, Parasitiformes) inLatvia. La tvijas Entomologs, 44: 125-126.

Salmane I., Telnov D., 2007. Laelaptidae Mites (Parasitiformes, Mesostigmata) of East African Millipedes (Diplopoda). Latvijas Entomologs, 44: 127.

 Karpa A., 2007. Materials on Latvian Agromyzidae (Diptera). Latvijas Entomologs, 44: 109-114.

 Vilks K., 2007. Correspondence Between Larval Development and Adult Residence Habitats of Dolichopodid Flies (Diptera, Empidoidea: Dolichopodidae) in Heterogeneous Mosaic of Seacoast Grassland Habitats. Latvijas Entomologs, 44: 115-124.

Juceviča E., Melecis V.,2006. Global warming affect Collembola community: a long-term study. Pedobiologia, 50: 177-184.

Salmane I., Kontschan J.,  2006. Soil Mesostigmata Mites (Acari, Parasitiformes) from Hungary, II. Latvijas Entomologs, 43: 14-17.

Karpa A., 2006. Materials on Latvian Diptera (Therevidae). Latvijas Entomologs, 43: 49-51.

Salmane I., 2006. New Mesostogmata (Acari: Parasitiformes) Species in the Fauna of Latvia. Latvijas Entomologs, 43: 52-56.

Juceviča E., 2006. Latvian Records of Pseudostachia populosa (SELGA) (Collembola: Odontellidae). Latvijas Entomologs, 43: 146.

Melecis V., Vīksne J., Spriņģe G., Briede A., 2005. Long-term ecological research inLatvia. Acta Zoologica Lithuanica, 15, 2: 142-145.

Juceviča E., Melecis V., 2005. Long-tern effects of climate warming on forest soil Collembola. Acta Zoologica Lithuanica, 15, 2: 125-127.

Salmane I., Meiere D., 2005. Mesostigmata mites (Acari, Parasitiformes) associated with Aphyllophorales fungi (Fungi, Basidiomycetes) in Latvia. Phytophaga, pp. 243-246.

Salmane I., Kontschán J., 2005. Soil Gamasina mites (Acari, Parasitiformes, Mesostigmata) from Hungary. I. Latvijas Entomologs, 42: 39-44.

Salmane I., 2005. Addition to the Latvian Mesostigmata (Acari, Parasitiformes) check-list. Latvijas Entomologs, 42: 58-61.

Kontschán J., Salmane I., 2005. Data about the Uropodina (Acari, Mesostigmata) fauna of Latvia. Latvijas Entomologs, 42: 62-64.

 Petersen H., Jucevica E., Gjelstrup P., 2004. Long-term changes in collembolan communities in grazed and non-grazed abandoned arable fields in Denmark. Pedobiologia, 48: 559-573.

Laiviņš M., Melecis V., 2003. Bio-geographical interpretation of climate data in Latvia: multidimensional analysis. Acta Universitatis Latviensis, Earth and Environment Sciences. Biogeography, 654: 7-22.

 Salmane, I., 2003. Re-finding of the Gamasina mite Cheiroseius curtipes (Acari, Mesostigmata, Aceosejidae) in Latvia. Latvijas Entomologs 40: 61-63.

 Juceviča E., 2003. Nomina Collembola Latviae. Latvijas Entomologs, 40: 16-20.

 Juceviča E., Melecis V., 2002. Long-term dynamics of Collembola in pine forest ecosystem. Pedobiologia, 46: 365-372.

Escher S. A., Ekenstedt J., Karpa A., Saura A. 2002. The Drosophilidae (Diptera) ofLatvia. Latvijas Entomologs, 39: 62-69.

 Salmane, I., 2002. Overview on Phytoseiidae mites (Acari, Mesostigmata, Gamasina) of Latvia. Latvijas Entomologs, 39: 48-54.

VILKS, K. 2002. Die Langbeinfliegen (Diptera, Dolichopodidae) der Sammlung von B.A.Gimmerthal.  Latvijas Entomologs, 39, pp. 3-7.

SALMANE, I., 2001. A check-list of Latvian Gamasina mites (Acari, Mresostigmata) with short notes to their ecology. Latvijas Entomologs, 38, pp. 27-38.

GAILIS, J. and VILKS, K., 2001. New data on rare beetles (Insecta, Coleoptera) in Latvia. Latvijas Entomologs, 38, pp. 52-55.

KARPA,  A., 2001. Revision of Chloropidae collection of B. A. Gimmerthal and a check-list of Latvian Chloropidae (Diptera). Latvijas Entomologs, 38: 21-26.

JUCEVIČA E., 2001. Collembola from the Baltic Sea Coast. Norwegian Journal of Entomology, Vol. 48, N 1: 217-222.

SALMANE, I., 2001. Fauna of soil Gamasina mites (Acari, Mesostigmata) along the Latvian seacoast and the relation to respective habitats. Norwegian Journal of Entomology, Vol. 48, N 1: 223-230.

SALMANE, I.,2001. Fauna of soil Gamasina mites (Acari, Mesostigmata) along the Latvian seacoast and the relation to respective habitats. Norwegian Journal of Entomology, Vol. 48, N 1:  223-230.

SALMANE, I., 2000. Investigations of the seasonal dynamics of Gamasina mites (Acari, Mesostigmata) in the pine forests of Latvia. Ekológia (Bratislava), 19, N3, pp. 245-252.

SALMANE, I., 2000. Fauna of soill-dwelling predatory Gamasina mites (Acari, Mesostigmata) in seashore habitats on the Kurzeme Coast, Latvia. Ekológia (Bratislava), 19, N3:  87-96.

FJELBERG,A. and JUCEVIČA E., 2000. A new species of Archisotoma Linnaniemi, 1912 from the Batic coast of Latvia (Collembola, Isotomidae). Norwegian Journal of Entomology, 47: 21-23.

MELECIS, V.,  KARPA,  A. and SPUŅĢIS, V., 2000. Assessment of the strategy used for insect population monitoring in the Lake Engures (Engure) Nature Park, Latvia. Lake Engure, Latvia, Proceedings of Latvian Academy of Sciences, Sect. B, 54(5/6) pp. 197-202.

MELECIS, V., 2000. Integrated research: renaissance of ecology in Latvia. Proceedings of Latvian Academy of Sciences., Sect. B, 54, N 5/6: 221-225.

KARPA,  A., 2000. Flies (Diptera, Brachycera) of the Lake Engures (Engure) Nature Park, Latvia. . Proceedings of Latvian Academy of Sciences., Sect. B, 54, N 5/6: 203-212.

KRASTIŅA, I., 2000. Species composition and dynamics of sporocarp production of macrofungi in pine forests with Vaccinium myrtillus in northern Latvia. Folia Cryptog. Estonica, Fasc, 37: 39-50.

FJELBERG, A.and JUCEVIČA, E., 2000. A new species of Archisotoma Linnaniemi, 1912 from the Batic coast of Latvia (Collembola, Isotomidae). Norwegian Journal of Entomology,  47: 21-23.