(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.
Antecedent lake conditions shape resistance and resilience of a shallow lake ecosystem following extreme wind storms
The goal was to develop a systematic, standardized and quantitative methodology for the synthesis of resistance and resilience relative to short-term lake and extreme storm conditions. Resistance and resilience following extreme storms are primarily shaped by antecedent turbidity and thermal conditions. Increased storm intensity and duration diminish resistance and resilience of the lake.
Refining the evolutionary time machine: an assessment of whole genome amplification using single historical Daphnia eggs
Aquatic sediments contain eggbanks of invertebrates such as the waterflea Daphnia, a keystone freshwater herbivore. These "time capsules" uniquely allow observation of genomic evolution over centuries. To bypass the problem of minute DNA amounts in individual eggs, the authors developed a whole genome amplification workflow, and show its utility to sequence full genomes of centuries-old eggs.
Warming alters juvenile carp effects on macrophytes resulting in a shift to turbid conditions in freshwater mesocosms
The authors tested the single and combined effects of warmer water (+4.5°C) and benthivorous juvenile common carp on aquatic macrophytes in 24 mesocosms (2500 L). Our study provides evidence for a regime shift from clear-water conditions dominated by submerged or floating-leaved macrophytes to a turbid state triggered by warming impacts on benthivorous fish rather than on macrophytes.
Most existing river conservation, restoration, and biomonitoring practices focus on local-scale strategies and measures. To improve the management of river networks in the Anthropocene, the authors suggest additional metrics and assessment approaches that incorporate regional processes more effectively.
Researchers from 90 scientific institutions worldwide have stated that freshwater biodiversity research and conservation lag far behind the efforts in terrestrial and marine environments. They propose a research agenda with 15 priorities aimed at improving research on biodiversity in lakes, rivers, ponds and wetlands. This is urgently needed as the loss of biodiversity there is dramatic.