Multiple stressors and pollutants

Freshwaters are used intensively by humans, meaning that they are exposed to a number of stressors. We explore the complex interrelations and impacts of the different stressors: How do nutrients and contaminants enter our surface waters, which factors play a central role in this process, and where are rivers and lakes in a particularly poor state? Nutrient inputs of nitrogen and phosphate, for example, may affect water quality, leading to algal blooms. It is often impossible to completely remove pharmaceuticals and biocides during wastewater treatment. They then end up in rivers and lakes, where they may affect the hormonal metabolism of fish and amphibians. Mining may lead to the contamination of adjacent freshwaters with potash and sulphate. Land use change, urbanisation, water control structures and the increasing use of artificial lighting at night (light pollution) exert additional pressure on our freshwaters. In our research, we acknowledge that use by humans is an important part of reality – only then can future-oriented solutions be developed.

Selected publications

July 2022
Journal of Geophysical Research : Atmospheres. - 127(2022)12, Art. e2021JD036382

Multiple angle observations would benefit visible band remote sensing using night lights

Christopher C.M. Kyba; Martin Aubé; Salvador Bará; Andrea Bertolo; Constantinos A. Bouroussis; Stefano Cavazzani; Brian R. Espey; Fabio Falchi; Geza Gyuk; Andreas Jechow; Miroslav Kocifaj; Zoltán Kolláth; Héctor Lamphar; Noam Levin; Shengjie Liu; Steven D. Miller; Sergio Ortolani; Chun Shing Jason Pun; Salvador José Ribas; Thomas Ruhtz; Alejandro Sánchez de Miguel; Mathias Schneider; Ranjay Man Shrestha; Alexandre Simoneau; Chu Wing So; Tobias Storch; Kai Pong Tong; Milagros Tuñón; Diane Turnshek; Ken Walczak; Jun Wang; Zhuosen Wang; Jianglong Zhang

The authors propose that next generation night-time remote sensing missions should consider multiple angles for observations in the visible band. They demonstrate via modeling and examples how the proposed method would leverage light pollution studies and unlock new applications for night-time remote sensing.

February 2022
Biogeochemistry. - 157(2022), 355–378

Divergent roles of iron and aluminum in sediment organic matter association at the terrestrial–aquatic interface

Kai Nils Nitzsche; Zachary E. Kayler; Katrin Premke; Arthur Gessler; Rota Wagai

The authors hypothesized that the variation in sediment redox and pH regime govern how iron (Fe) a.aluminum (Al) interact with organic matter (OM) in near-surface mineral sediments.The reactive monomeric Al preferably binds with organic ligands from less-decomposed OM under acidic and anoxic conditions. Low-crystallinity Fe formed under oxic conditions binds with more microbially-processed OM.

December 2021
Landscape and Urban Planning. - 219(2022), Art. 104332

A plea for a worldwide development of dark infrastructure for biodiversity: practical examples and ways to go forward

Romain Sordello; Samuel Busson; Jérémie H. Cornuau; Philippe Deverchèrd; Baptiste Faure; Adrien Guetté; Franz Hölker; Christian Kerbiriouh; Thierry Lengagnei; Isabelle Le Viol; Travis Longcore; Pascal Moeschler; Jessica Ranzoni; Nicolas Raymn; Yorick Reyjol; Yoann Roulet; Sibylle Schroer; Jean Secondii; Nicolas Valet; Sylvie Vanpeene; Sébastien Vauclair

The authors advocate the worldwide development of a dark infrastructure. This refers to areas and corridors without excessive artificial light at night that protect biodiversity from light pollution. A guide to getting there.

December 2021
Water Research. - 196(2021), Art. 116981

Making waves. Bridging theory and practice towards multiple stressor management in freshwater ecosystems

Bryan M. Spears; Daniel S. Chapman; Laurence Carvalho; Christian K. Feld; Mark O. Gessner; Jeremy J. Piggott; Lindsay F. Banin; Cayetano Gutiérrez-Cánovas; Anne Lyche Solheim; Jessica A. Richardson; Rafaela Schinegger; Pedro Segurado; Stephen J. Thackeray; Sebastian Birk

The authors identified limitations to the development of multiple-stressor management strategies and address these within an empirical framework. They give recommendations for the use of empirical models and experiments to predict the effects of freshwater degradation in response to changes in multiple stressors and offer practical advice for management strategies in 3 multiple-stressor scenarios.

November 2021
BioScience. - 71(2021)7, 1103–1109

The impact of light pollution on bats varies according to foraging guild and habitat context

Christian C. Voigt; Jasja Dekker; Marcus Fritze; Suren Gazaryan; Franz Hölker; Gareth Jones; Daniel Lewanzik; Herman J.G.A. Limpens; Fiona Mathews; Jens Rydell; Kamiel Spoelstra; Maja Zagmajster

The authors review how different bat guilds respond to artificial light at night (ALAN) and assess how the impacts vary according to ecological context. All studied European species respond for example negatively to a wide range of light colors and intensities close to roosts and drinking sites. The sprawl of ALAN may be a key factor driving the decline of bat diversity.

Related Projects

Contact person
Mark Gessner
Sabine Hilt
(Dept. 1) Ecohydrology and Biogeochemistry
(Dept. 2) Community and Ecosystem Ecology
(Dept. 3) Plankton and Microbial Ecology

Related Downloads


City, country, river: modelling and managing nutrient pollution in lakes and rivers

Experts at IGB

Tobias Goldhammer

Research Domain Speaker
Research group
Nutrient Cycles and Chemical Analytics

Franz Hölker

Research Group Leader
Research group
Light Pollution and Ecophysiology

Ilka Lutz

Research Group Leader
Research group
Effects of Endocrine Active Substances

Thomas Meinelt

Research Group Leader
Research group
Fish Pathology, Ecotoxicology and Stress Ecology

Matthias Stöck

Research Group Leader
Research group
Genetics of fish (and other vertebrates)

Markus Venohr

Research Group Leader
Research group
River System Modelling

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