(Dept. 2) Ecosystem Research
In the Department of Ecosystem Research, we investigate the effects of the trophic level, hydromorphology and climate on lake and river ecosystems, as well as their stability and long-term development. We study interactions between biotic ecosystem components (microorganisms, plankton, macrophytes, macroinvertebrates and parasites) and their physical and chemical environment as well as the key processes of physical limnology, primary production, evolution, and carbon flux. We employ techniques used in molecular biology and genomics, laboratory and field research; we exploit long-term databases and apply statistical and deterministic models. Our research, integrated into global research on the effects of climate change and biodiversity, provides the basis for developing theoretical concepts.
The authors have quantified the long-term temperature changes in 139 lakes worldwide. They analysed shifts in thermal habitats and found that as lakes warm, species will need to shift to different depths or seasons. Lakes in the tropics are particularly affected.
A research team has studied the close relationships between infectious diseases and biological invasions. The "One Health" approach considers the health of humans as well as animals, plants and other elements of the environment to prevent pandemics and the spread of invasive alien species.
The extent and variability of storm-induced temperature changes in lakes measured with long-term and high-frequency data
The authors analyzed 18 long-term high-frequency lake datasets to assess the magnitude of wind- vs. rainstorm-induced changes in epilimnetic temperature. They found small day-to-day epilimnetic temperature decreases in response to strong wind and heavy rain during stratified conditions, but day-to-day temperature change, in the absence of storms, often exceeded storm-induced temperature changes.
Molecular survey methods detecting DNA released by target-species into their environment (eDNA) provide cost-effective tools for conservation, yet such eDNA-based methods are prone to errors. The authors synthesized recent advances in data processing tools that increase the reliability of interpretations drawn from eDNA data.
Invasion science is the systematic investigation of the causes and consequences of biological invasions. The authors identified four priority areas to advance the field in the Anthropocene: (1) predicting impacts of biological invasions, (2) understanding synergisms of multiple environmental stressors, (3) resolving the taxonomic impediment, and (4) enhancing international biosecurity.