DIversity of aquatic plants and their Associated TOXic cyanobacteria

Neurotoxic cyanobacteria grow on aquatic plants and have already caused fatal animal intoxications. Recent improvements of water quality in lakes are the result of reduced anthropogenic nutrient influx. As a consequence, the biomass of planktonic cyanobacteria decreases and the overall clarity of inland waters increases. Light can now penetrate much deeper and wide benthic areas become habitable to aquatic plants and toxic benthic cyanobacteria. However, little is known about the extend, the diversity and the dynamics of the newly established benthic phototrophic communities.

In DIVATOX we strive for knowledge about the interactions between different aquatic plants and their associated neurotoxic cyanobacteria. The focus is on the dynamics of toxin production and the role of abiotic environmental factors as well as microbial interactions. Our goal is to determine- and prospectively estimate health risks for humans and animals as well as to enable decision makes with specific recommendations for action.

Short Profile


(Dept. 2) Community and Ecosystem Ecology
Research Domain
Aquatic Biodiversity in the Anthropocene
Funded by

BMBF Research Initiative for the Conservation of Biodiversity (FEdA) “BiodivHealth

Exploring the links between biodiversity and human health"

Funding-ID: 16LW0384

Supervised by

VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH, Dr. Felix Frey & Dr. Sandra Rajmis

Contact person

Sven Meißner

Research group
Aquatic-Terrestrial Coupling and Regime Shifts

Sabine Hilt

Research Group Leader
Research group
Aquatic-Terrestrial Coupling and Regime Shifts

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