(Dept. 1) Ecohydrology

Major experimental field sites of Department 1

Interactions between green (in terrestrial systems) and blue water (lakes, rivers, and subsurface aquifers) create complex waterscapes. These constitute habitats for biota and are reactive transport media for abiotic components, coupled at multiple spatio-temporal scales. What unites us at the Department of Ecohydrology is the aim to improve understanding of mechanisms and processes of these connected land- and waterscapes in natural, rural and urban environments. Consequently, most of our current research projects focus on at least one of the following three core topics: landscape-waterscape interactions, urban ecohydrology, or abiotic-biotic coupling.

In our research, we integrate different modelling approaches with data collected in field studies, in large-scale field manipulation studies as well as in laboratory experiments. By using tracers like stable isotopes, natural conservative geogenic ions, nutrients or organic matter, we identify and quantify coupled hydrological and biogeochemical processes. Of special interest are anthropogenic influenced and disturbed ecosystems, in particular heavily modified urban systems. To appropriately address our research aim, we combine our expertise across research disciplines, such as environmental engineering, hydrology, ecology, and geography.

Contact persons

Research groups

Georgiy Kirillin
Alexander Sukhodolov
Dörthe Tetzlaff
Markus Venohr

Department members

Selected publications

April 2021
Journal of Geophysical Research : Atmospheres. - 125(2020)22, e2020JD033396

Effects of the largest lake of the Tibetan Plateau on the regional climate

Dongsheng Su; Lijuan Wen; Xiaoqing Gao; Matti Leppäranta; Xingyu Song; Qianqian Shi; Georgiy Kirillin

The authors used a coupled lake-atmosphere model to investigate the effect of the largest lake of China, the Qinghai, on the weather and climate conditions of the Tibetan Plateau. They found that the lake alters wind conditions and increases precipitation over the arid areas of the earth’s “third pole” Tibet but the effect is irregularly distributed spatially and temporally over the seasons.  

March 2021
Water Resources Research. - 57(2021)3, e2020WR029094

Catchment functioning under prolonged drought stress: Tracer‐aided ecohydrological modeling in an intensively managed agricultural catchment

Xiaoqiang Yang; Doerthe Tetzlaff; Chris Soulsby; Aaron Smith; Dietrich Borchardt

The authors investigated the effects of recent years’ droughts on ecohydrological processes in an agricultural catchment using an isotope-aided model (EcH2O-iso). Stream discharge could be sustained by deep, old groundwater, while transpiration fluxes were heavily reduced by drought stress. Crucially, tracer-based water age estimates can be used as potential indicators of drought impacts.

March 2021
Science of the Total Environment. - 780(2021), Art. 146494

Soil erosion modelling: a global review and statistical analysis

Pasquale Borrelli; Christine Alewell; Pablo Alvarez; Jamil Alexandre Ayach Anache; Jantiene Baartman; Cristiano Ballabio; Nejc Bezak; Marcella Biddoccu; Artemi Cerdà; Devraj Chalise; Songchao Chen; Walter Chen; Anna Maria De Girolamo; Gizaw Desta Gessesse; Detlef Deumlich; Nazzareno Diodato; Nikolaos Efthimiou; Gunay Erpul; Peter Fiener; Michele Freppaz; Francesco Gentile; Andreas Gericke; Nigussie Haregeweyn; Bifeng Hu; Amelie Jeanneau; Konstantinos Kaffas; Mahboobeh Kiani-Harchegani; Ivan Lizaga Villuendas; Changjia Li; Luigi Lombardo; Manuel López-Vicente; Manuel Esteban Lucas-Borja; Michael Märker; Francis Matthews; Chiyuan Miao; Matjaž Mikoš; Sirio Modugno; Markus Möller; Victoria Naipal; Mark Nearing; Stephen Owusu; Dinesh Panday; Edouard Patault; Cristian Valeriu Patriche; Laura Poggio; Raquel Portes; Laura Quijano; Mohammad Reza Rahdari; Mohammed Renima; Giovanni Francesco Ricci; Jesús Rodrigo-Comino; Sergio Saia; Aliakbar Nazari Samani; Calogero Schillaci; Vasileios Syrris; Hyuck Soo Kim; Diogo Noses Spinola; Paulo Tarso Oliveira; Hongfen Teng; Resham Thapa; Konstantinos Vantas; Diana Vieira; Jae E. Yang; Shuiqing Yin; Demetrio Antonio Zema; Guangju Zhao; Panos Panagos

67 scientists reviewed 1700 peer-reviewed articles on soil-erosion modelling. The study addresses the relevance of regions, models, and model validation and includes the open-source database. 

March 2021
Scientific Reports. - 11(2021), Art. 4179

Simultaneous attenuation of trace organics and change in organic matter composition in the hyporheic zone of urban streams

Birgit M. Mueller; Hanna Schulz; Robert E. Danczak; Anke Putschew; Joerg Lewandowski

Wastewater still contains high amounts of trace organic compounds and organic matter after the wastewater treatment plant. These compounds are usually discharged to rivers with the treated water. The study shows that in the hyporheic zone of the river, i.e. the river sediment, degradation of trace organic compounds takes place simultaneously with a change in the composition of organic matter.

February 2021
Hydrological Processes. - 35(2021)1, Art. e14023

Stable isotopes of water reveal differences in plant – soil water relationships across northern environments

Doerthe Tetzlaff; James Buttle; Sean K. Carey; Matthew J. Kohn; Hjalmar Laudon; James P. McNamara; Aaron Smith; Matthias Sprenger; Chris Soulsby

The authors compared stable isotopes of water in the plant stem (xylem) and in the soil over a complete growing season at five northern experimental sites to understand where plants get their water from and what the temporal dynamics are of such root water uptake. This paper was a main finding of an ERC Grant.

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