Research seminar 2. (Environmental and Regional Studies)


Environmental and Regional Studies (3rd level)

Biodiversity and ecology (3rd Cycle)
Paleobiology and sedimentary geology (3rd Cycle)
Regional studies (3rd Cycle)

Course code: DT004
Year of study: 2nd year

Course principal:
Assist. Prof. Jani Kozina, Ph.D.
Prof. Simona Kralj-Fišer, Ph. D.


Workload: seminar 60 hours, individual work 120 hours.
Course type: mandatory
Languages: Slovene, English
Learning and teaching methods: presentations of doctoral theses by second-year students, discussions led by mentors and second-year students, e-learning


Course syllabus (download)


Finished first year of doctoral study.


Content (Syllabus outline):

  • Second-year students present their doctoral dissertations; mandatory attendance by first-year students
  • Presenter prepares starting points for discussion among participants (first-year and second-year students)
  • Discussion led by the advisors of the doctoral students presenting their dissertations



  • Lovell, S. A., Coen, S. E., Rosenberg, M. W. (eds.) 2023: The Routledge Handbook of Methodologies in Human Geography. Abingdon, Routledge.
  • Hilpert, U. 2019: Diversities of Innovation. London, New York: Routledge.
  • Anderson, J. 2015: Understanding Cultural Geography: Places and Traces. Abingdon, Routledge.
  • Moulaert, F., MacCallum, D., Mehmood, A. and Hamdouch, A. 2013: The International Handbook on Social Innovation: Collective Action, Social Learning and Transdisciplinary Research. Cheltenham, Northampton, Massachusetts: Edward Elgar.
  • Phillips, R., Johns, J. 2012: Fieldwork for human geography. London, Sage.


Objectives and competences:

Based on their doctoral dissertations, second-year students will present the basic starting points for their research questions, hypothesis formulation, the methods used, and anticipated results. In guided discussions, they will receive comments and suggestions from the first-year students and advisors attending the discussion regarding any improvements to the dissertations presented.


The first-year students attending the discussions will become familiar with practical research examples, the application of diverse research methods, and advice for efficiently organizing work, which will also be applicable at a wider level: in preparing projects and writing research papers (see Research Seminar 1).


Intended learning outcomes:

Student will be trained to:

  • Organize their research work
  • Prepare project proposals
  • Write research and discussion articles
  • Prepare presentations of their work



Oral presentation (100 %).


Prof. Simona Kralj-Fišer, Ph. D.

Associate Professor at master degree study programme (2nd level) Earth and Environmental Sciences and doctoral degree study programme (3rd level) Enviornmental and Regional Studies at Postgraduate School ZRC SAZU. Senior research fellow at the Jovan Hadži Institute of Biology ZRC SAZU.


  • B.S. (Biology), University of Ljubljana, Slovenia (2002)
  • Ph.D. (Biology), University of Ljubljana, Slovenia (2009)


Research interests

  • Behavioural biology: personalities in nonhuman animal, sexual behaviour and behavioural plasticity
  • Evolution: evolution of sexual biology and sexual size dimorphism; quantitative genetics
  • Ecology: behaviour and life histories strategies in ecology, specifically ecology of human altered environments (urbanization, global climate change)


Main visiting appointments

  • Humboldt Postdoctoral Researcher, Behavioural Biology, University of Hamburg, Germany (1.9.2010-28.2.2011).
  • Research visit, Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Singapore (17.12.2008-17.1.2009).
  • Research visit, Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Singapore (25.4.-25.5.2007)
  • PhD research (1.1.2003-31.1.2003), Konrad Lorenz Research Station for Ethology, Gruenau, Austria & University of Vienna, Austria

Selected publications

  • Quiñones Lebrón S. G., Kuntner M., Kralj-Fišer S. 2021. The effect of genetics, diet, and social environment on adult male size in a sexually dimorphic spider. Evolutionary Ecology.
  • Turk, E., Čandek, K., Kralj-Fišer, S. & Kuntner, M. (2020). Biogeographical history of golden orbweavers: Chronology of a global conquest. Journal of Biogeography.
  • Herczeg, G., Hafenscher, V. P., Balázs, G., Fišer, Ž., Kralj-Fišer. S. & Horváth, G. Is foraging innovation lost following colonisation of a less variable environment? A case study in surface- vs. cave-dwelling Asellus aquaticus. Ecology and Evolution.
  • Kralj-Fišer, S., Premate, E., Copilas-Ciocianu, D., Volk, T., Fišer, Ž., Balázs, G., Herczeg, G., Delić, T. & Fišer, C. (2020). The interplay between habitat use, morphology and locomotion in subterranean crustaceans of the genus Niphargus. Zoology, p.125742.
  • Kralj‐Fišer, S., Laskowski, K. L., & Garcia‐Gonzalez, F. (2019). Sex differences in the genetic architecture of aggressiveness in a sexually dimorphic spider. Ecology and Evolution.
  • Quiñones-Lebrón, S. G., Gregorič, M., Kuntner, M., & Kralj-Fišer, S. (2019). Small size does not confer male agility advantages in a sexually-size dimorphic spider. PloS one, 14(5), e0216036.
  • Kralj-Fišer, S., & Gregorič, M. (2019). Spider Welfare. In The Welfare of Invertebrate Animals (pp. 105-122). Springer, Cham.
  • Turk, E., Kuntner, M., & Kralj-Fišer, S. (2018). Cross-sex genetic correlation does not extend to sexual size dimorphism in spiders. The Science of Nature, 105(1-2), 1.
  • Kralj-Fišer, S., Hebets, E. A., & Kuntner, M. (2017). Different patterns of behavioral variation across and within species of spiders with differing degrees of urbanization. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 71(8), 125.
  • Gavín-Centol, M. P., Kralj-Fišer, S., De Mas, E., Ruiz-Lupión, D., & Moya-Laraño, J. (2017). Feeding regime, adult age and sexual size dimorphism as determinants of pre-copulatory sexual cannibalism in virgin wolf spiders. Behavioral ecology and sociobiology, 71(1), 10.
  • Kralj-Fišer, S., Čandek, K., Lokovšek, T., Čelik, T., Cheng, R. C., Elgar, M. A., & Kuntner, M. (2016). Mate choice and sexual size dimorphism, not personality, explain female aggression and sexual cannibalism in raft spiders. Animal Behaviour, 111, 49-55.
  • Gregorič, M., Šuen, K., Cheng, R. C., Kralj-Fišer, S., & Kuntner, M. (2016). Spider behaviors include oral sexual encounters. Scientific reports, 6, 25128.
  • Quiñones-Lebrón, S. G., Kralj-Fišer, S., Gregorič, M., Lokovšek, T., Čandek, K., Haddad, C. R., & Kuntner, M. (2016). Potential costs of heterospecific sexual interactions in golden orbweb spiders (Nephila spp.). Scientific reports, 6, 36908.
  • Kralj-Fišer, S., & Schuett, W. (2014). Studying personality variation in invertebrates: why bother?. Animal Behaviour, 91, 41-52.
  • Kralj-Fišer, S., Čelik, T., Lokovšek, T., Šuen, K., Šiling, R., & Kuntner, M. (2014). Development and growth in synanthropic species: plasticity and constraints. Naturwissenschaften, 101(7), 565-575.
  • Kralj-Fišer, S., Sanguino Mostajo, G. A., Preik, O., Pekár, S., & Schneider, J. M. (2013). Assortative mating by aggressiveness type in orb weaving spiders. Behavioral Ecology, 24(4), 824-831.
  • Kralj‐Fišer, S., Schneider, J. M., & Kuntner, M. (2013). Challenging the aggressive spillover hypothesis: is pre‐copulatory sexual cannibalism a part of a behavioural syndrome?. Ethology, 119(8), 615-623.
  • Kralj-Fišer, S., Daisley, J. N., & Kotrschal, K. (2013). Individuals matter: personality. In: Scheiber, I. B., Weiß, B. M., Kotrschal, K., & Hemetsberger, J. (Eds.). (2013). The social life of Greylag Geese. Cambridge University Press.
  • Kralj-Fišer, S., & Schneider, J. M. (2012). Individual behavioural consistency and plasticity in an urban spider. Animal Behaviour, 84(1), 197-204.
  • Kralj-Fišer, S., Schneider, J. M., Justinek, Ž., Kalin, S., Gregorič, M., Pekár, S., & Kuntner, M. (2012). Mate quality, not aggressive spillover, explains sexual cannibalism in a size-dimorphic spider. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 66(1), 145-151.
  • Li, D., Oh, J., Kralj-Fišer, S., & Kuntner, M. (2012). Remote copulation: male adaptation to female cannibalism. Biology letters, 8(4), 512-515.
  • Kuntner, M., Gregorič, M., Zhang, S., Kralj-Fišer, S., & Li, D. (2012). Mating plugs in polyandrous giants: which sex produces them, when, how and why?. PLoS One, 7(7), e40939.
  • Lee, Q. Q., Oh, J., Kralj-Fišer, S., Kuntner, M., & Li, D. (2012). Emasculation: gloves-off strategy enhances eunuch spider endurance. Biology letters, 8(5), 733-735.
  • Kralj-Fišer, S., & Kuntner, M. (2012). Eunuchs as better fighters. The Science of Nature 99(2):95-101.
  • Kralj-Fišer, S., Gregorič, M., Zhang, S., Li, D., & Kuntner, M. (2011). Eunuchs are better fighters. Animal Behaviour, 81(5), 933-939.
  • Luštrik, R., Turjak, M., Kralj-Fišer, S., & Fišer, C. (2011). Coexistence of surface and cave amphipods in an ecotone environment. Contributions to Zoology, 80(2), 133-141.
  • Valentinčič, T., Miklavc, P., Kralj, S., & Zgonik, V. (2011). Olfactory discrimination of complex mixtures of amino acids by the black bullhead Ameiurus melas. Journal of fish biology, 79(1), 33-52.
  • Kuntner, M., Kralj-Fišer, S., & Gregorič, M. (2010). Ladder webs in orb-web spiders: ontogenetic and evolutionary patterns in Nephilidae. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 99(4), 849-866.
  • Kralj-Fišer, S., Weiß, B. M., & Kotrschal, K. (2010). Behavioural and physiological correlates of personality in greylag geese (Anser anser). Journal of Ethology, 28(2), 363 – 370.
  • Kralj-Fišer, S., Scheiber, I. B., Kotrschal, K., Weiß, B. M., & Wascher, C. A. (2010). Glucocorticoids enhance and suppress heart rate and behaviour in time dependent manner in greylag geese (Anser anser). Physiology & behavior, 100(4), 394-400.
  • Kuntner, M., Kralj‐Fišer, S., Schneider, J. M., & Li, D. (2009). Mate plugging via genital mutilation in nephilid spiders: an evolutionary hypothesis. Journal of Zoology, 277(4), 257-266.
  • Kralj-Fišer, S., Scheiber, I. B., Blejec, A., Moestl, E., & Kotrschal, K. (2007). Individualities in a flock of free-roaming greylag geese: behavioral and physiological consistency over time and across situations. Hormones and Behavior, 51(2), 239-248.