A Two Institutional Research Group
With an official launch in 2011, EZ lab consolidated the research group of Dr. Matjaž Kuntner founded in 2005 at the Jovan Hadži Institute of Biology, Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (ZRC SAZU). Today, EZ lab is a two-institutional research group with three lab venues and three principle investigators.
Dr. Kuntner leads the branch at the National Institute of Biology in Ljubljana focusing on Phylogenetic Systematics and Biogeography; At the Jovan Hadži Institute of Biology ZRC SAZU, Dr. Simona Kralj Fišer leads the labs at Ig near Ljubljana emphasizing Behavioral and Evolutionary Ecology, and Dr. Matjaž Gregorič leads the newly established EZ branch in Maribor that conducts research on Spider Silk and Web Evolution. These topics are broadly overlapping, and the three-pronged group thrives on common findings. In synergy, EZ lab conducts training of the next generation of scientists. Our PIs and their students are affiliated with several universities and institutes in Slovenia, China, USA, and UK.
Phylogenetic Systematics and Biogeography is chiefly done at the National Institute of Biology’s Department of Organisms and Ecosystems Research at Večna pot 111 in Ljubljana. These labs are equipped for targeted field work, microscopic data acquisition, RNA and DNA extraction, high throughput sequencing, transcriptome assembly, qPCR analyses, bioinformatics analyses, phylogenomic analyses, biogeographic analyses, and machine learning data analysis. It builds on the other strengths of the Department of Organisms and Ecosystems Research whose staff are active in biotremology, organismal and ecosystem ecology, and physiology.
Behavioral and Evolutionary Ecology is largely conducted at the ZRC SAZU facilities at Ig (Research Station Barje), within the Jovan Hadži Institute of Biology. The labs at Ig are equipped for targeted field work, microscopic data acquisition including morphological imaging, RNA and DNA extraction and amplification, and the top of the line behavioral labs are fully loaded for animal rearing (both in lab controlled, as well as greenhouse climatic conditions), observation, and manipulation, with still and video cameras and behavioral observation software. Our work also builds on related expertise in organismal ecology and nature conservation at the Jovan Hadži Institute of Biology.
Spider Silk and Web Evolution is being conducted at the new biological labs in Maribor that form a part of the ZRC SAZU Maribor Research Station. This EZ extension is equipped for targeted field work, microscopic data acquisition including morphological imaging, and its focus on spider silk is enabled by a newly installed tensile testing machine. Rearing of animals in the context of global change biological research is done within newly installed climate chambers.