Szabolcs Lengyel received his MSc in Biology from the University of Debrecen (UD, Hungary) in 1995 and his PhD in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology from the University of Nevada, Reno (USA) in 2001. He then took a Research Biologist position at Hortobágy National Park in eastern Hungary, where he worked on various conservation projects. In 2003, he joined a new conservation research group at UD, and since 2006, he has been an Assistant Professor at the Department of Ecology of that university. For 20 months in 2007 and 2008, he was a Visiting Scientist at the Department of Zoology of the North Carolina State University in Raleigh (USA). Upon his return to Hungary in 2009, with his colleagues he co-founded the Conservation Ecology Research Group at the Department of Ecology of UD (http://ecology.science.unideb.hu/ConsEcolGroup/index.html). The group currently has three pre-doctor students, four PhD students, two MSc and several BSc students.
Szabi’s major research interest is the interplay between ecology and evolution, and how their synthesis can be applied in the conservation of biological diversity. Topics that are of interest to him are varied and range from populations to communities and landscapes. At the level of species and populations, he is mostly interested in how evolution has influenced life-history traits and habitat selection. At the scale of communities, he is interested how ecological versus evolutionary forces shape assemblages of species, and how events at evolutionary time scales influence current patterns in biodiversity. Finally, at the level of landscapes, he is mostly interested in heterogeneity within and among habitats and its effects on the diversity of species in the landscape. He then applies this knowledge in designing and implementing habitat restoration and conservation management to maintain or increase biological diversity at the landscape scale. In his work, he always tries to involve theory with practice, science with applications, and ecology with conservation. He is the author of 47 scientific papers, 17 of which are in ISI-listed journals (cumulative IF = 42), four book chapters, and ten popular-science publications and held over 70 presentations at scientific conferences (half of them at international events).
Szabi has more than 12 years of teaching experience. He started a special topic course in Research Design and Scientific Communication at University of Debrecen (UD) in 1998, and this course has been part of the core curriculum of the MSc programme in Biology at UD since 2005. He also teaches Evolutionary Ecology and Conservation Biology at both the BSc and the MSc levels. His teaching principles derive from his research interests – he always attempts to establish a solid theoretical basis and link this knowledge to practical applications in areas as diverse as evolutionary analysis, ecological field experiments, conservation of species and habitats, and writing of scientific papers and grant applications.