Environmental change

Lakes and rivers react extremely sensitively to climate change and environmental changes. As such, they act as an early warning system for global ecological change. Our long-term programmes at Lake Stechlin and Lake Müggelsee, as well as on River Spree document the consequences of this change. Data spanning several decades enables us to forecast how freshwaters will develop under certain scenarios. In the LakeLab, our globally unique experimental facility in Lake Stechlin, we simulate the impact that changing environmental conditions (e.g. extreme weather events or the increasing use of artificial lighting) have on lakes and aquatic organisms.

Vice versa, freshwaters also have an impact on climate change. They have the ability to store or release large quantities of greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide. We investigate which conditions influence these processes and what role is played by rivers, lakes and wetlands in the global carbon cycle.

Related News

press release

Lake habitats are disappearing as the climate changes

Global warming is increasing the surface temperatures of lakes worldwide – are species finding the temperatures they need to survive? Researchers led by IGB have quantified the long-term temperature changes in 139 lakes worldwide. 
press release

Global warming: lakes lose too much oxygen

Oxygen levels in freshwater lakes are declining rapidly – faster than in the oceans. Over the past forty years, for example, oxygen levels in the deep waters of temperate lakes have dropped by nearly 19 percent. 
short news

IGB investigates drug resistance in freshwaters

In the Leibniz Research Alliance INFECTIONS'21 Hans-Peter Grossart will investigate the antibiotic resistances and species compositions of microorganisms in the freshwater ecosystems of Berlin.

Selected publications

May 2021
Freshwater Biology. - 66(2021)6, 1089-1100

Incomplete recovery of a shallow lake from a natural browning event

Garabet Kazanjian; Soren Brothers; Jan Köhler; Sabine Hilt

The authors investigated the recovery of a small, temperate shallow lake from a strong flooding-induced browning and nutrient loading event. Concentrations of dissolved organic carbon and phosphorus remained elevated and affected primary production despite water levels dropping to pre-flood levels indicating consequences of extreme precipitation for lake water quality and aquatic food webs.

May 2021
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences. - 25(2021)4, 2239–2259

Quantifying the effects of land use and model scale on water partitioning and water ages using tracer-aided ecohydrological models

Aaron Smith; Doerthe Tetzlaff; Lukas Kleine; Marco Maneta; Chris Soulsby

The authors used the IGB model EcH2O-iso with isotope tracers to quantify how different vegetation communities in lowland German catchments partition rainfall into evapotranspiration and groundwater recharge. This showed that forests account for greater water losses to the atmosphere and reduced recharge. Future losses under climate change can be optimised by species selection and management. 

April 2021
Limnology and Oceanography. - 66(2021)4, 1268-1280

Countergradient variation concealed adaptive responses to temperature increase in Daphnia from heated lakes

Marcin Krzysztof Dziuba; Lechosław Kuczyński; Łukasz Wejnerowski; Slawek Cerbin; Justyna Wolinska

The authors investigated thermal adaptation of Daphnia from lakes that had been exposed to artificially elevated temperatures for six decades, in comparison to Daphnia that lived in control sites at ambient temperature. Daphnia from heated lakes evolved larger body size, which is contradictory to general expectations and theory. They suggest that large size is adaptive during active overwintering.

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. 

Related Projects

Sulphate in River Spree and Lake Müggelsee

Scientific investigations in mining landscape on the example of the problem "Brown Spree". Long-term development of sulphate concentration in the Spree and Müggelsee ...
Contact person
Tobias Goldhammer
Thomas Rossoll
Department
(Dept. 6) Chemical Analytics and Biogeochemistry
Start
05/2015
End
12/2025
Topic

PONDERFUL

IGB (project lead Thomas Mehner) is part of a consortium that is running a new Horizon 2020 project ‘PONDERFUL’, led by the University of Vic (Spain). The project’s overarching aim is to develop improved methods for maximising the use of ponds and pondscapes in climate change adaptation and mitigation, biodiversity conservation and the delivery of ecosystem services.
Contact person
Thomas Mehner
Sabine Hilt
Pieter Lemmens
Department
(Dept. 2) Ecosystem Research
(Dept. 4) Biology and Ecology of Fishes
Start
12/2020
End
11/2024
Topic

CONNECT

Connectivity and synchronisation of lake ecosystems in space and time
Contact person
Stella A. Berger
Sabine Wollrab
Department
(Dept. 1) Ecohydrology
(Dept. 3) Experimental Limnology
Start
05/2018
End
04/2021
Topic

CLIMSHIFT

CLIMSHIFT aims for a mechanistic under-standing of stressor interactions acting on shallow aquatic systems, which are especially vulnerable to climate warming and agricultural run-off.
Contact person
Sabine Hilt
Franz Hölker
Department
(Dept. 1) Ecohydrology
(Dept. 2) Ecosystem Research
Start
05/2018
End
04/2021
Topic

Experts at IGB

Rita Adrian

Scientific Staff
Research group
Long-Term and Climate Impact Research of Lake Ecosystems

Stella A. Berger

Research Group Leader
Research group
Experimental Phytoplankton Ecology

Mark Gessner

Head of Department
Research group
Ecosystem Processes

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