Countless organisms live on our planet. However, this biodiversity is threatened by human dominance. In particular, genetic diversity, species diversity and ecosystem diversity are affected. The main reasons for the rapid decline in biodiversity are climate change, large-scale land-use change, direct exploitation, pollution and the spread of invasive alien species. Freshwater species – from larger animals (“megafauna”), fish, amphibians, invertebrates, macrophytes to a variety of microorganisms (e.g. plankton, bacteria, fungi and viruses) – are particularly affected by these pressures. In this context, aquatic biodiversity contributes to the stability and resilience of ecosystems in the context of global change, and plays a central role in important ecosystem services such as water purification, food supply and recreational opportunities.
In the programme area “Aquatic Biodiversity in the Anthropocene”, IGB engages in research on the drivers and implications of biodiversity loss and on how biodiversity can be conserved. The focus is on lakes, rivers and wetlands in general, including small freshwater habitats such as ponds and streams, as well as feedback mechanisms between aquatic and terrestrial systems.
Three hundred years of past and future changes for native fish species in the upper Danube River Basin—Historical flow alterations versus future climate change
The authors show that fish have been particularly sensitive to changes in flow regimes in the past, while higher temperatures will pose the greatest threat in the future. The threat assessment will remain at least as high in the future. However, it could probably be mitigated by reconnecting former floodplains and improving river connectivity.
The study provides perspectives on the use of network models to address a variety of applied ecological questions along spatial and temporal dimensions as well as on interactions between abiotic and biotic components of ecosystems. Through collaborative research, network models could provide important levers for sustainable management.
The shape of density dependence and the relationship between population growth, intraspecific competition and equilibrium population density
The authors focused on extensions of the logistic growth model, and how intrinsic rates of increase and equilibrium population densities are not independent, but instead are functions of the same underlying parameters. They highlight several options for modeling population growth, and provide a mechanistic understanding of how the model parameters of each model relate to one another.
The authors included effects of intraspecific variation to a variance partitioning method that allows quantifying effects of losses and gains of inter- and intraspecific groups to changes in ecosystem functioning. The method will also provide information on how biodiversity loss at different ecological levels changes ecosystem functioning.
By altering essential environmental cues Artificial Light at Night (ALAN) is restructuring if, how and when animals interact. In this publication the authors explored the role of ALAN on ecological interactions and reviewed research studies that addressed this issue, most of whom were just published during the last three to five years.