Use and management

Freshwaters are used in many ways: as a drinking water supply, for industrial transportation and for recreation. All these functions, also referred to as ecosystem services, can only be ensured if rivers and lakes are in a good ecological state. Since its introduction in 2002, the Water Framework Directive has called for just that. And yet water is a scarce resource in many regions of the world. The growing pressure caused by mining, industry, hydroelectric power production and agriculture affects water quality and the passage of freshwaters. At IGB, we develop concepts for the future-oriented management of freshwater resources for the welfare of humans and nature. We investigate how anthropogenic influences affect freshwaters, and how lakes, flowing waters and wetlands can be used sustainably and revitalised efficiently.

Related News

short news

Tracking fish in the ocean

A team with Robert Arlinghaus has developed a high-resolution telemetry system for use in coastal areas. With this system, the positions and movements of hundreds of tagged fish can be determined with a sub-meter positioning. 
focus

Potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on freshwater ecosystems and fisheries

Will freshwater environments and fish populations benefit from the global COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting restrictions on the economy and society? Yes, in the short term, but probably not in the longer term – this is the conclusion of an international team of experts, including IGB scientist Robert Arlinghaus.

Selected publications

December 2020
Nature. - 588(2020), S. 436–441

More than one million barriers fragment Europe’s rivers

Barbara Belletti; Carlos Garcia de Leaniz; Joshua Jones; Simone Bizzi; Luca Börger; Gilles Segura; Andrea Castelletti; Wouter van de Bund; Kim Aarestrup; James Barry; Kamila Belka; Arjan Berkhuysen; Kim Birnie-Gauvin; Martina Bussettini; Mauro Carolli; Sofia Consuegra; Eduardo Dopico; Tim Feierfeil; Sara Fernández; Pao Fernandez Garrido; Eva Garcia-Vazquez; Sara Garrido; Guillermo Giannico; Peter Gough; Niels Jepsen; Peter E. Jones; Paul Kemp; Jim Kerr; James King; Małgorzata Łapińska; Gloria Lázaro; Martyn C. Lucas; Lucio Marcello; Patrick Martin; Phillip McGinnity; Jesse O’Hanley; Rosa Olivo del Amo; Piotr Parasiewicz; Martin Pusch; Gonzalo Rincon; Cesar Rodriguez; Joshua Royte; Claus Till Schneider; Jeroen S. Tummers; Sergio Vallesi; Andrew Vowles; Eric Verspoor; Herman Wanningen; Karl M. Wantzen; Laura Wildman; Maciej Zalewski

The study shows: Europe has some of the most fragmented rivers in the world. On average, there is about one barrier per 1.4 kilometres of stream, in Germany even two barriers per kilometre. Small transverse structures with an impoundment height of less than two metres account for the lion's share. The study also shows opportunities for reconnecting streams and rivers.

December 2020
Water Research. - 186(2020),116319

Spatial and temporal variability of methane emissions from cascading reservoirs in the Upper Mekong River

L. Liu; Z.J. Yang; K. Delwiche; L.H. Longa; J. Liu; D.F. Liu; C.F. Wang; P. Bodmer; A. Lorke

Potential sediment methane production rates increase along the reservoir cascade in the Upper Mekong River. Ebullition is an important but previously overlooked pathway for methane emission. Both diffusive and ebullitive fluxes show high intra and inter reservoir variability. Fluxes fall into the low-to-mid range of global estimates for hydropower reservoirs.

November 2020
Biological Conservation. - 251(2020) art. 108764

On the conservation value of historic canals for aquatic ecosystems

Hsien-Yung Lin; Steven J. Cooke; Christian Wolter; Nathan Young; Joseph R. Bennett

The authors reviewed ecological studies in historic canal systems, examined the potential of historic canals to contribute to aquatic biodiversity conservation, and provided suggestions to promote biodiversity conservation given the opportunities and challenges in canal management (e.g., nature conservation vs historic preservation).

October 2020
Global Change Biology. - 26(2020)11, S. 6383-6398

The role of connectivity in the interplay between climate change and the spread of alien fish in a large Mediterranean river

Johannes Radinger; Emili García-Berthou

Dams exacerbate the consequences of climate change on river fish: A potential response of river fish to environmental changes is to colonise new habitats. Dams restrict the habitats of fish, but do not necessarily prevent the spread of invasive species, as Johannes Radinger and his team found.

October 2020
Science. - 370(2020)6513, S. 180

Pragmatic animal welfare is independent of feelings

Robert Arlinghaus; Ian G. Cowx; Brian Key; Ben K. Diggles; Alexander Schwab; Steven J. Cooke; Anne Berit Skiftesvik; Howard I. Browman

In this Letter to Science the researchers argue that effective application of animal welfare in conservation is also possible if it is based on objective and measurable parameters of animal welfare – without relying on concepts such as consciousness, sentience or pain. 

Related Projects

Water-ForCE

Water-ForCE will bring together experts on water quality and quantity, in policy, research, engineering and service sectors to develop a Roadmap for the water component for the future Copernicus services.
Contact person
Igor Ogashawara
Department
(Dept. 3) Experimental Limnology
Start
01/2021
End
12/2023
Topic

GRS-Microcluster „Signatures“

Immission and effect iron from mining regions – Dispersion mechanisms and biogeochemical signatures
Contact person
Michael Hupfer
Department
(Dept. 6) Chemical Analytics and Biogeochemistry
Start
01/2018
End
12/2020
Topic

Lakes in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern: Sustainable Remediation and Restauration

The goal f the project is a close co-operation between scientists of the IGB and the Ministry of Agriculture and Environment on the field of lake protection and lake management.
Contact person
Peter Casper
Department
(Dept. 3) Experimental Limnology
(Dept. 6) Chemical Analytics and Biogeochemistry
Start
01/2016
End
12/2020
Topic

Long-term development of lakes as a result of climate change

In this project, the effect of climate change on the physical processes of lakes will be investigated. Several lakes with a diverse set of boundary conditions (e. g. differing mean depth or different wind exposure) will be instrumented with logger chains. They will measure temperature and oxygen in high resolution and make it possible to resolve changes in physical conditions in response to varying climatic forcing.  In addition to direct measurements, numerical models can be used to reproduce water temperatures in lakes.
Contact person
Robert Schwefel
Michael Hupfer
Department
(Dept. 6) Chemical Analytics and Biogeochemistry
Start
01/2020
End
12/2021
Topic

PONDERFUL

IGB (project lead Thomas Mehner) is part of a consortium that is running a new Horizon 2020 project ‘PONDERFUL’, led by the University of Vic (Spain). The project’s overarching aim is to develop improved methods for maximising the use of ponds and pondscapes in climate change adaptation and mitigation, biodiversity conservation and the delivery of ecosystem services.
Contact person
Thomas Mehner
Sabine Hilt
Department
(Dept. 2) Ecosystem Research
(Dept. 4) Biology and Ecology of Fishes
Start
12/2020
End
11/2024
Topic

Related Downloads

Outlines | IGB Policy Brief: Plans to regulate the River Oder pose risks to nature and sustainable use

Outlines | IGB Policy Brief: Strengths and weaknesses of the Water Framework Directive (WFD)

The IGB Policy Brief recommends continued commitment to the objectives of the WFD and improved practical implementation – and offers options for action to policy makers and practitioners.

Kharaa Yeröö River Basin Atlas

The Atlas is written in Mongolian and English language, as a joint activity of IGB and its Mongolian partner IGG. The science based fundamentals of monitoring and research results of MoMo are documented and continuously updated as maps and texts for discussions with stakeholders and decision makers.

M.Sc. Fish Biology, Fisheries and Aquaculture – Arrival and Survival Guide

Everything you need to know about the International Master Program in Fish Biology, Fisheries and Aquaculture! The program is jointly coordinated by the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin and the Institute of Inland Fisheries in Potsdam Sacrow.

M.Sc. Fish Biology, Fisheries and Aquaculture – Flyer

A quick overview about the International Master Program in Fish Biology, Fisheries and Aquaculture. The program is jointly coordinated by the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin and the Institute of Inland Fisheries in Potsdam Sacrow.

Experts at IGB

Robert Arlinghaus

Research Group Leader
Research group
Integrative Recreational Fisheries Management

Jörn Gessner

Research Group Leader
Research group
Reintroduction of the European Sturgeon to Germany

Michael Hupfer

Head of Department a.i.
Research group
Biogeochemical Processes in Sediments and Lake Management

Martin Pusch

Research Group Leader
Research group
Functional Ecology and Management of Rivers and Lake Shores

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