(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.

Contact persons

Sonja Jähnig

Head of Department
Research group
Aquatic Ecogeography

Department members

Selected publications

May 2023
Journal of Environmental Management. - 325(2023), Art. 116442

Short-term effects of macrophyte removal on aquatic biodiversity in rivers and lakes

Benjamin Misteli; Alexandrine Pannard; Eirin Aasland; Sarah Faye Harpenslager; Samuel Motitsoe; Kirstine Thiemer; Stéphanie Llopis; Julie Coetzee; Sabine Hilt; Jan Köhler; Susanne C. Schneider; Christophe Piscart; Gabrielle Thiébaut

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.

April 2023
Scientific Data. - 10(2023) Art. 169

A database of freshwater macroinvertebrate occurrence records across Cuba

Yusdiel torres-Cambas; Yoandri S. Megna; Juan Carlos Salazar-Salina; Yander L. Diez; alejandro Catalá; Adrian D. trapero-Quintana; Boris Schröder; Sami Domisch

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.

March 2023
Global Ecology and Biogeography. - 32(2023)5, 642-655

The global EPTO database: worldwide occurrences of aquatic insects

Afroditi Grigoropoulou; Suhaila Ab Hamid; Raúl Acosta; Emmanuel Olusegun Akindele; Salman A. Al-Shami; Florian Altermatt; Giuseppe Amatulli; David G. Angeler; Francis O. Arimoro; Jukka Aroviita; Anna Astorga-Roine; Rafael Costa Bastos; Núria Bonada; Nikos Boukas; Cecilia Brand; Vanessa Bremerich; Alex Bush; Qinghua Cai; Marcos Callisto; Kai Chen; Paulo Vilela Cruz; Olivier Dangles; Russell Death; Xiling Deng; Eduardo Domínguez; David Dudgeon; Tor Erik Eriksen; Ana Paula J. Faria; Maria João Feio; Camino Fernández- Aláez; Mathieu Floury; Francisco García-Criado; Jorge García- Girón; Wolfram Graf; Mira Grönroos; Peter Haase; Neusa Hamada; Fengzhi He; Jani Heino; Ralph Holzenthal; Kaisa- Leena Huttunen; Dean Jacobsen; Sonja C. Jähnig; Walter Jetz; Richard K. Johnson; Leandro Juen; Vincent Kalkman; Vassiliki Kati; Unique N. Keke; Ricardo Koroiva; Mathias Kuemmerlen; Simone Daniela Langhans; Raphael Ligeiro; Kris Van Looy; Alain Maasri; Richard Marchant; Jaime Ricardo Garcia Marquez; Renato T. Martins; Adriano S. Melo; Leon Metzeling; Maria Laura Miserendino; S. Jannicke Moe; Carlos Molineri; Timo Muotka; Kaisa-Riikka Mustonen; Heikki Mykrä; Jeane Marcelle Cavalcante do Nascimento; Francisco Valente-Neto; Peter J. Neu; Carolina Nieto; Steffen U. Pauls; Dennis R. Paulson; Blanca Rios- Touma; Marciel Elio Rodrigues; Fabio de Oliveira Roque; Juan Carlos Salazar Salina; Dénes Schmera; Astrid Schmidt-Kloiber; Deep Narayan Shah; John P. Simaika; Tadeu Siqueira; Ram Devi Tachamo-Shah; Günther Theischinger; Ross Thompson; Jonathan D. Tonkin; Yusdiel Torres-Cambas; Colin Townsend; Eren Turak; Laura Twardochleb; Beixin Wang; Liubov Yanygina; Carmen Zamora- Muñoz; Sami Domisch

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. 

March 2023
WIREs Water. - X(2023)X, Art. e1641

Multispecies assemblages and multiple stressors: synthesizing the state of experimental research in freshwaters

Fengzhi He; Roshni Arora; India Mansour

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.

February 2023
Science of the Total Environment. - 872(2023) Art. 162196

The Asymmetric Response Concept explains ecological consequences of multiple stressor exposure and release

Matthijs Vosa; Daniel Hering; Mark O. Gessner; Florian Leese; Ralf B. Schäfer; Ralph Tollrian; Jens Boenigk; Peter Haase; Rainer Meckenstock; Daria Baikova; Helena Bayat; Arne Beermann; Daniela Beißer; Bánk Beszteri; Sebastian Birk; Lisa Boden; Verena Brauer; Mario Brauns; Dominik Buchner; Andrea Burfeid-Castellanos; Gwendoline David; Aman Deep; Annemie Doliwa; Micah Dunthorn; Julian Enß; Camilo Escobar-Sierra; Christian K. Feld; Nicola Fohrer; Daniel Grabner; Una Hadziomerovic; Sonja C. Jähnig; Maik Jochmann; Shaista Khaliq; Jens Kiesel; Annabel Kuppels; Kathrin P. Lampert; T.T. Yen Le; Armin W. Lorenz; Graciela Medina Madariaga; Benjamin Meyer; Jelena H. Pantel; Iris Madge Pimentel; Ntambwe Serge Mayombo; Hong Hanh Nguyen; Kristin Peters; Svenja M. Pfeifer; Sebastian Prati; Alexander J. Probst; Dominik Reiner; Peter Rolauffs; Alexandra Schlenker; Torsten C. Schmidt; Mana Shah; Guido Sieber; Tom Lennard Stach; Ann-Kathrin Tielke; Anna-Maria Vermiert; Martina Weiss; Markus Weitere; Bernd Sures

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.

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