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.