Sigrid Netherer

University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, BOKU, Vienna, Department of Forest and Soil Sciences

Email sigrid.netherer[at]
Project Name Barbee
Publication Page
Field of research Bark beetles and other forest pest insects risk assessment, Climate change effects, Drought
Keywords Forest insect herbivores, bark beetles, risk assessment, Norway spruce, drought, host tree herbivore interactions

Sigrid Netherer studied forestry at BOKU, Vienna and finished her PhD in 2003. After a 2-years post-doctoral phase at the Institute of Forest Entomology and Forest Protection, she went on parental leave (2 kids), and returned to the institute as a post-doc in 2006. Between 2005 and 2012, Sigrid also worked as a freelance expert in forestry and was engaged in environmental education for children. During her part-time position at BOKU at that time, she was involved in a number of projects funded by the European Commission. From 2011 on, Sigrid was PI in projects financed by FWF and the Austrian Federal Forests. Currently, she holds and Elise Richter fellowship and habilitated in January 2022.

Does drought stress predispose trees to bark beetle attack?
I study the complex relationships of forest insect pests and their host trees. My main research focus lies on Norway spruce, which is highly prone to disturbance, such as infestations by the Eurasian spruce bark beetle. I am particularly interested in the effects of water deficiency on spruce attractiveness to bark beetles and resistance against attack. In a rainfall exclusion study, I have combined physiological measurements, chemical analyses, and bioassays to better understand bark beetle behaviour and attack success.

What motivates me?
I am curious person with some fantasy, that’s probably the main reason why I love to be a natural scientist. Moreover, climate change and forest mortality are global problems with ecological and socio-economic implications. I do not only want to understand causalities but also to contribute with practical solutions for forest management and protection.

Which hurdles did I have to overcome?
From my experience, staying with science demands a great deal of perseverance and resilience. My enthusiasm for research has always outcompeted my negative experiences of underpayment and lack of prospects, which finally paid off due to success and lucky circumstances.