Fluvial Ecosystem Ecology
We are a team of scientists dedicated to the research of running waters at ecosystem- to landscape-scale. Our focus rests on ecosystem functions in streams and rivers, eventually including lakes embedded in the flowing water continuum. Our work is centered around the elements C and N and comprises heterotroph as well as autotroph processes driven by bacteria, algae and higher organisms. Lotic environments are physically heterogenous and variable environments, our research is complicated by spatial complexities (e.g. the dendritic configuration of river networks) and temporal unpredictability (e.g. stochastic behavior of flow). That´s still not challenging enough, so we add diversity of organisms and resources, i.e., hundreds of microbial species in biofilms and thousands of chemical compounds in dissolved organic matter, in order to understand functioning of what in our mind is more aptly called a “fluvial meta-ecosystem”. Our research happens in real river networks around the world as well as in laboratory-based microcosms in Berlin. Streams and rivers are among the most threatened and charismatic ecosystems on Earth, we are confident that a better understanding of their biodiversity and functioning can contribute to increased appreciation, wiser use and urgently needed conservation in a changing world.