(Dept. 2) Community and Ecosystem Ecology
Inland waters support exceptional biodiversity, are characterised by intense metabolism of matter, and provide important ecosystem services. However, freshwater ecosystems face high and increasing pressures from multiple stressors. The Department of Community and Ecosystem Ecology conducts research in both standing and running waters studying the response of freshwater communities and ecosystems to global change. Ultimately, we aim to advance our mechanistic understanding of the structure and functioning of inland waters as a basis for their sustainable management. Specifically, we focus on:
- Response of freshwater communities and diversity to changing environments
- Interactions between freshwater communities, their environment and ecosystem functioning
- Spatial and temporal freshwater biodiversity patterns
- Sustainable management of freshwater communities and ecosystems
We develop and analyse the long-term monitoring data of Lake Müggelsee and Spree as well as from other inland waters and their catchments, employ spatially explicit statistical and deterministic modelling approaches, and conduct lab and field experiments. Our department additionally encompasses research on the global effects of climate change and biodiversity and develops new theoretical concepts on that.
Short-term effects of macrophyte removal on aquatic biodiversity in rivers and lakes
Study of the effects of macrophyte removal on phytoplankton, zooplankton and macroinvertebrates at five sites with highly variable characteristics repeating the same Before-After-Control-Impact design to disentangle general from site-specific effects. Macrophyte removal had negative effects on biodiversity, esp. on zooplankton and macroinvertebrates. It had positive effects on phytoplankton.
A database of freshwater macroinvertebrate occurrence records across Cuba
the researchers have set up a database with geo-referenced occurrence records of four groups of freshwater invertebrate taxa across Cuba. Detailed knowledge of the spatial distribution of freshwater species is an important basis for monitoring changes in aquatic ecosystems.
The global EPTO database: worldwide occurrences of aquatic insects
Thanks to the commitment of nearly 100 researchers, the EPTO-database is the first global data source regarding geo-referenced and freely available data sets on aquatic insect occurrences - Mayflies (Ephemeroptera), stoneflies (Plecoptera), caddisflies (Trichoptera) and dragonflies (Odonata) - worldwide.
Multispecies assemblages and multiple stressors: synthesizing the state of experimental research in freshwaters
This is a review of multiple-stressor research in freshwaters, particularly studies that have experimentally manipulated multiple stressors and measured responses of multispecies assemblages. There is a gap between biotic interactions under multiple stressors and ecosystem recovery pathways after restoration, indicating a disconnect between multiple stressor research and environmental practice.
The Asymmetric Response Concept explains ecological consequences of multiple stressor exposure and release
Multiple stressors can affect species indirectly through either abiotic variables or impacts on non-target species. Stress tolerance is the key determinant of responses to increasing stress intensity. Dispersal and biotic interactions are the two key mechanisms governing responses to the release from stressors.