Aquatic-Terrestrial Coupling and Regime Shifts
We investigate the effects of altered external factors such as nutrient and terrestrial carbon inputs and temperature on freshwater ecosystems. We focus on causes and consequences of resilience and regime shifts, using lowland lakes and rivers as model systems. Our studies mainly focus on benthic primary producers (underwater plants, periphyton) and their interactions with biotic and abiotic components of freshwater ecosystems. Our aim is to improve knowledge of quantitative aspects of regime shifts and to elucidate its implications for ecosystem functions such as biodiversity, primary productivity, carbon burial, greenhouse gas emissions, and nutrient retention. Our research spectrum ranges from the individual organism to the entire ecosystem and combines long-term data series with large and small-scale experimental approaches in the laboratory and field, molecular methods, paleolimnology and modeling.