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.
Earlier winter/spring runoff and snowmelt during warmer winters lead to lower summer chlorophyll-a in north temperate lakes
The authors investigated how ongoning changes in winter conditions may have consequences for annual phytoplankton biomass and production. They showed that earlier winter/spring runoff and snowmelt during warmer winters lead to lower summer chlorophyll-a in 41 north temperate lakes in Europe and North America.
Quantifying the effects of urban green space on water partitioning and ages using an isotope-based ecohydrological model
Urban green space is of great importance for sustainable water management and heat reduction in cities. Using field measurements and a highly advanced ecohydrological model, researchers have investigated how water pathways differ depending on vegetation type. The result: trees potentially provide the strongest cooling effect, while grass promotes more groundwater recharge.
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.
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.