Fengzhi He

+49 (0) 30 6392 4086
+49 (0)30 6392 4099

Justus-von-Liebig-Str. 7, 12489 Berlin

Research group

My research focuses on conservation of freshwater megafauna, biodiversity patterns of riverine species, and anthropogenic impacts on freshwater ecosystems.


Since 2019          Postdoc, Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB), Berlin, Germany

2015 – 2019        Ph.D. in River Science, Joint doctoral degree of Freie Universität Berlin, Germany & Queen Mary University of London, UK

2012 – 2015         M.Sc. in Hydrobiology, Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, China &                                                                                         University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

2008 – 2012       B.Sc. in Biotechnology, Central China Normal University, Wuhan, China

Freshwater Megafauna Futures

Freshwater Megafauna Futures: Diversity, Functions, Threats, and Implications for Biodiversity Conservation
Logo: aquaphylax/ q·design  
Contact person
Sonja Jähnig
(Dept. 2) Ecosystem Research


The SMART Joint Doctorate focuses on the core areas of natural and engineering sciences relevant to the sustainable management of river systems from their headwaters to estuaries. SMART aims to provide education and research at PhD level by offering a 3-year programme within the Erasmus Mundus action. It adopts a multidisciplinary, multi-scale approach that integrates relevant aspects of the physical, chemical and biological sciences, including relevant theory, monitoring and modelling.
Contact person
Ina Severin
Franz Hölker
(Dept. 1) Ecohydrology and Biogeochemistry
(Dept. 2) Ecosystem Research
(Dept. 5) Ecophysiology and Aquaculture


Sonja C. Jähnig; Viktor Baranov; Florian Altermatt; Peter Cranston; Martin Friedrichs‐Manthey; Juergen Geist; Fengzhi He; Jani Heino; Daniel Hering; Franz Hölker; Jonas Jourdan; Gregor Kalinkat; Jens Kiesel; Florian Leese; Alain Maasri; Michael T. Monaghan; Ralf B. Schäfer; Klement Tockner; Jonathan D. Tonkin; Sami Domisch

Revisiting global trends in freshwater insect biodiversity

WIREs Water. - 8(2021)2, Art. e1506


Marcos Moleón; José A. Sánchez-Zapata; José A. Donázar; Eloy Revilla; Berta Martín-López; Cayetano Gutiérrez-Cánovas; Wayne M. Getz; Zebensui Morales-Reyes; Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz; Larry B. Crowder; Mauro Galetti; Manuela González-Suárez; Fengzhi He; Pedro Jordano; Rebecca Lewison; Robin Naidoo; Norman Owen-Smith; Nuria Selva; Jens-Christian Svenning; José L. Tella; Christiane Zarfl; Sonja C. Jähnig; Matt W. Hayward; Søren Faurby; Nuria García; Anthony D. Barnosky; Klement Tockner

Rethinking megafauna

Proceedings of the Royal Society of London : Ser. B, Biological Sciences. - 287(2020)1922, 20192643


Fengzhi He; Christiane Zarfl; Vanessa Bremerich; Jonathan N. W. David; Zeb Hogan; Gregor Kalinkat; Klemet Tockner; Sonja C. Jähnig

The global decline of freshwater megafauna

Global Change Biology. - 25(2019)11, S. 3883-3892




He, F., Langhans, S.D., Zarfl, C., Wanke, R., Tockner, K. & Jähnig, S.C., (2020) Combined effects of life‐history traits and human impact on extinction risk of freshwater megafauna. Conservation Biology. doi:10.1111/cobi.13590

He, F., Jähnig, S.C., Wetzig, A. & Langhans, S.D. (2020) The untapped potential of conservation journals to promote freshwater biodiversity. bioRxiv, doi: 10.1101/2020.07.21.214288.

Kurthen, A. L., He, F., Dong, X., Maasri, A., Wu, N., Cai, Q. & Jähnig, S. C. (2020). Metacommunity structures of macroinvertebrates and diatoms in high mountain streams, Yunnan, China. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 8, 571887.

Chiu, M.C., Ao, S., He, F., Resh, V.H. & Cai, Q. (2020) Elevation shapes biodiversity patterns through metacommunity-structuring processes. Science of The Total Environment, 743, 140548.

Zhou, S., Wu, N., Zhang, M., Peng, W., He, F., Guo, K., Yan, S., Zou, Y. & Qu, X. (2020) Local environmental, geo-climatic and spatial factors interact to drive community distributions and diversity patterns of stream benthic algae, macroinvertebrates and fishes in a large basin, Northeast China. Ecological Indicators, 117, 106673.

Guo S., He F., Tang T., Tan L. & Cai Q. (2020) Intra-annual fluctuations dominating temporal dynamics of benthic diatom assemblages in a Chinese mountainous river. Annales de Limnologie-International Journal of Limnology, 56, 22. 

Moleón M., Sánchez-Zapata J.A., Donázar J.A., Revilla E., Martín-López B., Gutiérrez-Cánovas C., Getz W.M., Morales-Reyes Z., Campos-Arceiz A., Crowder L., Galetti M., González-Suárez M., He F., Jordano P., Lewison R., Naidoo R., Owen-Smith N., Selva N., Svenning J-C., Tella J.L., Zarfl C., Jähnig S.C., Hayward M.W., Faurby S., García N., Barnosky A.D. & Tockner K. (2020) Rethinking megafauna. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 287(1922), 20192643.

He, F., Wu, N., Dong, X., Tang, T., Domisch, S., Cai, Q., & Jähnig, S. C. (2020). Elevation, aspect, and local environment jointly determine diatom and macroinvertebrate diversity in the Cangshan Mountain, Southwest China. Ecological Indicators108, 105618.

He F., Zarfl C., Bremerich V., David J.N.W., Hogan Z., Kalinkat G., Tockner K. & Jahnig S.C. (2019) The global decline of freshwater megafauna. Global Change Biology, 25, 3883–3892.

He F. & Jähnig S.C. (2019) Put freshwater megafauna on the table before they are eaten to extinction. Conservation Letters, 12(5), e12662. 

Zarfl, C., Berlekamp, J., He, F., Jähnig, S. C., Darwall, W., & Tockner, K. (2019). Future large hydropower dams impact global freshwater megafauna. Scientific Reports, 9(1), 1-10.

He F., Sun X., Dong X., Cai Q. & Jähnig S.C. (2019) Benthic Macroinvertebrates as Indicators for River Health in Changjiang Basin. In: Yue T. et al. (eds) Chinese Water Systems. Springer, Cham

He, F., Bremerich, V., Zarfl, C., Geldmann, J., Langhans, S.D., David, J.N., Darwall, W., Tockner, K. & Jähnig, S.C. (2018) Freshwater megafauna diversity: Patterns, status and threats. Diversity and Distributions, 24(10), 1395-1404.

He, F., Zarfl, C., Bremerich, V., Henshaw, A., Darwall, W., Tockner, K. & Jähnig, S. C. (2017) Disappearing giants: a review of threats to freshwater megafauna. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water, 4(3), e1208.

Carrizo, S.F., Jähnig, S.C., Bremerich, V., Freyhof, J., Harrison, I., He, F., Langhans, S.D., Tockner, K., Zarfl, C. & Darwall, W. (2017) Freshwater Megafauna: Flagships for Freshwater Biodiversity under Threat. BioScience, 67(10), 919–927

Jiang, W., He, F., & Cai, Q. (2017) Spatial distribution patterns of trait composition and functional diversity of aquatic insects in the Xiangxi River system. Acta Ecologica Sinica, 37(6), 1861-1870

Dong, X., Li, B.,  He, F., Gu, Y., Sun, M., Zhang, H., Tan, L., Xiao, W., Liu, S. & Cai, Q. (2016) Flow directionality, mountain barriers and functional traits deterministic mine diatom metacommunity structuring of high mountain streams. Scientific Reports, 6, 24711

He, F., Dong, X., Sun, M., & Cai, Q. (2015) Altitudinal pattern of stream periphyton biomass in tributaries of the Lancang–Mekong River: An indicator of anthropogenic impact?. Quaternary International, 380, 282-287.

He, F., Jiang, W., Tang, T., & Cai, Q. (2015) Assessing impact of acid mine drainage on benthic macroinvertebrates: can functional diversity metrics be used as indicators?. Journal of Freshwater Ecology, 30(4), 513-524.

He, F., Ren, Z., Dong, X., Yang, K., Wang, M., Li, D., & Cai, Q. (2014). River ecosystem health assessment of the Shennongjia Forest Region. Chinese Journal of Applied and Environmental Biology20(1), 35-39.

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