Although freshwaters cover less than one per cent of the earth’s surface, they are some of the most species-rich habitats on our planet – so far at any rate. After all, rivers and lakes are experiencing a rapid decline in biological diversity. And yet it is still unclear what this loss means for our well-being in the long term. One important objective of our research is therefore to identify measures that enable us to protect the biodiversity of our freshwaters as effectively as possible. We investigate the causes, draw up forecasts relating to changes, and pool our expertise in biodiversity research and in knowledge-based environmental protection. Collaborating with international partners, we also collect global data on biodiversity in freshwaters, creating a unique foundation to ensure their protection.

Selected publications

Diversity and Distributions
January 2024
Diversity and Distributions. - XX(2024)XX, XX

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

Martin Friedrichs-Manthey; Simone D. Langhans; Florian Borgwardt; Thomas Hein; Harald Kling; Philipp Stanzel; Sonja C. Jähnig; Sami Domisch

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. 

December 2023
Oikos. - XX(2023)xx ; Art. e09824

The shape of density dependence and the relationship between population growth, intraspecific competition and equilibrium population density

Emanuel A. Fronhofer; Lynn Govaert; Mary I. O’Connor; Sebastian J. Schreiber; Florian Altermatt

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. 

December 2023
Ecology. - 105(2024)1, Art. e4199

Quantifying interspecific and intraspecific diversity effectson ecosystem functioning

Lynn Govaert; Andrew P. Hendry; Farshad Fattahi; Markus Möst

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.

October 2023
Ecology letters. - 26(2023)12, 2066-2076

Long-term data reveal contrasting impacts of native versus invasive nest predators in Iceland

Jón Einar Jónsson; Fiona S. Rickowski; Florian Ruland; Árni Ásgeirsson; Jonathan M. Jeschke

The authors used unusual Citizen Science data from several decades to show that the American mink has decimated the native eider duck in the Brokey archipelago by about 60 %. In another Icelandic landscape, the return of the native Arctic fox had no discernible impact on the eider population - presumably due to the common evolutionary history in which the eiders have developed defence strategies.

October 2023
Environmental Sciences Europe. - 35(2023), Art. 78

Potential for high toxicity of polystyrene nanoplastics to the European Daphnia longispina

Anderson Abel de Souza Machado; Nesar Ghadernezhad; Justyna Wolinska

Until now, the toxicity assessment of microplastics in the environment relied on the model organism Daphnia magna for evaluating potential hazards to aquatic invertebrates. However, other Daphnia species are primarily found in Northern Hemisphere lakes, most notably Daphnia longispina. The current study reveals that Daphnia longispina can be more sensitive to microplastics than Daphnia magna. 

Related Projects

Contact person
Martin Pusch
Christian Wolter
Sonja Jähnig
Thomas Mehner
(Dept. 1) Ecohydrology and Biogeochemistry
(Dept. 2) Community and Ecosystem Ecology
(Dept. 3) Plankton and Microbial Ecology
(Dept. 4) Fish Biology, Fisheries and Aquaculture
(Dept. 5) Evolutionary and Integrative Ecology

Related Downloads

Outlines | IGB Dossier: Small standing water bodies as biodiversity hotspots – particularly valuable, but highly endangered

Small standing waters are overlooked and underestimated because of their small size – yet they account for more than 30 percent of the world's inland water bodies and are of great ecological and social importance. In order to raise awareness of this problem and to point out options for action for policymakers, authorities and the civil society, IGB has published an IGB Dossier on this important type of water body. 

Experts at IGB

Sami Domisch

Research Group Leader
Research group
Global Freshwater Biodiversity, Biogeography and Conservation

Lynn Govaert

Research Group Leader
Research group
Eco-Evolutionary Dynamics

Sonja Jähnig

Head of Department
Research group
Aquatic Ecogeography

Matthias Stöck

Research Group Leader
Research group
Genetics and Evolution of Fish (and other Vertebrates)

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