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

short news

Freshwaters under climate stress

On the occasion of the global climate strike, we have compiled 10 facts from our studies that underline the need for more climate action. A good read on the way to the demonstration!
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Eco-evolutionary dynamics in urban systems

International teams with Luc De Meester developed a framework  to fully grasp the opportunity to use urbanization as a model system to study eco-evolutionary dynamics.
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Evolution: Keeping it smooth

How does evolution impact ecological patterns? It helps smooth out the rough edges, says a team of international researchers including Luc De Meester.

Selected publications

October 2020
Global Change Biology. - 26(2020)11, S. 6413-6423

Long-term warming destabilizes aquatic ecosystems through weakening biodiversity-mediated causal networks

Chun-Wei Chang; Hao Ye; Takeshi Miki; Ethan R. Deyle; Sami Souissi; Orlane Anneville; Rita Adrian; Yin-Ru Chiang; Satoshi Ichise; Michio Kumagai; Shin-ichiro S. Matsuzaki; Fuh-Kwo Shiah; Jiunn-Tzong Wu; Chih-hao Hsieh; George Sugihara

Climate change destabilizes aquatic ecosystems through weakening the interactions between species richness and biomass of phytoplankton and the chemical and physical environmental factors. This is the conclusion of a study on long-term data series of 10 aquatic ecosystems using the convergent cross mapping (CCM) method.

Related Projects

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
Department
(Dept. 2) Ecosystem Research
(Dept. 4) Biology and Ecology of Fishes
Start
12/2020
End
11/2024
Topic

AQUACOSM-plus

Network of Leading Ecosystem Scale Experimental AQUAtic MesoCOSM Facilities Connecting Rivers, Lakes, Estuaries and Oceans in Europe and beyond
Contact person
Jens Christian Nejstgaard
Stella A. Berger
Katharina Makower
Department
(Dept. 3) Experimental Limnology
Start
04/2020
End
03/2024
Topic

Species protection through environmental friendly lighting (AuBe)

Species protection through environmentally friendly lighting Tatort streetlight discovers causes for insect decline. Street lighting can severely impair nocturnal flying insects, as many insects are attracted to the light of the luminaires and withdrawn from their actual habitats. Help us to investigate which insects are affected by street lighting and how environmentally sound lighting solutions can help preserve the insects' habitat.
Contact person
Sibylle Schroer
Franz Hölker
Department
(Dept. 1) Ecohydrology
Start
06/2019
End
05/2025
Topic

Freshwater Megafauna Futures

Freshwater Megafauna Futures: Diversity, Functions, Threats, and Implications for Biodiversity Conservation
Contact person
Sonja Jähnig
Department
(Dept. 2) Ecosystem Research
Start
04/2020
End
03/2025
Topic

WANDEL: Water resources as important factors in the energy transition at the local and global level

Water and energy are crucial to sustainable development, both globally and within Germany. WANDEL focuses on the question of whether limited water availability restricts the use of conventional energy systems and thereby accelerates the energy transition, or whether it actually slows the transition down.
Contact person
Sonja Jähnig
Martin Pusch
Department
(Dept. 2) Ecosystem Research
Start
08/2017
End
07/2020
Topic

Experts at IGB

Rita Adrian

Head of department
Working group
Long-term and climate impact research of lake ecosystems

Stella A. Berger

Research group leader
Working group
Experimental phytoplankton ecology

Mark Gessner

Head of department
Working group
Ecosystem processes

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