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.
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.
Quantifying the effects of land use and model scale on water partitioning and water ages using tracer-aided ecohydrological models
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.
Countergradient variation concealed adaptive responses to temperature increase in Daphnia from heated lakes
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.
Catchment functioning under prolonged drought stress: Tracer‐aided ecohydrological modeling in an intensively managed agricultural catchment
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.
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.