Aquatic Biodiversity in the Anthropocene

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.


Justyna Wolinska and Franz Hölker

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