Water and matter cycles

Rivers, lakes and wetlands connect the land to the sea, they are directly linked to groundwater, and regulate the global nutrient and carbon balance. Their sediments are also highly active zones that can extract nutrients and contaminants from the surface water. We explore these complex physical, hydrological, biological and chemical processes and interactions. We then use the knowledge gained to develop concepts for sustainable water management and for enhancing water quality. For example, we focus on the wetland rehydration of bogs, interactions between groundwater and surface water, the significance of riparian zones, and matter conversion in sediments.

Selected publications

June 2023
Journal of Hydrology. - 623(2023), Art. 129817

Synoptic water isotope surveys to understand the hydrology of large intensively managed catchments

Ke Chen; Doerthe Tetzlaff; Tobias Goldhammer; Jonas Freymueller; Songjun Wu; Aaron Andrew Smith; Axel Schmidt; Guodong Liu; Markus Venohr; Chris Soulsby

Using seasonal, large scale synoptic sampling of stable water isotopes and tritium along the Spree allowed to assess water cycling, storage and losses. The Spree is heavily regulated and drought-sensitive due to high evapotranspiration losses. Such insights are important to adjust water management strategies.

June 2023
Journal of Hydrology. - 622(2023)Part A, Art. 129750

Quantifying changes and trends of NO3 concentrations and concentration-discharge relationships in a complex, heavily managed, drought-sensitive river system

Ji Liu; Doerthe Tetzlaff; Tobias Goldhammer; Songjun Wu; Chris Soulsby

Long-term stream nitrate nitrogen concentrations and concentration-discharge were investigated along the Spree revealing significant heterogeneity in both variables. The upstream parts and winter seasons showed the most serious pollution. Concentrations and relationships are also likely to respond strongly to future droughts, leading to challenges for future land and water management.

May 2023
Journal of Geophysical Research : Biogeosciences. - 128(2023)4, Art. e2022JG007156

Moving Bedforms Control CO2 Production and Distribution in Sandy River Sediments

H. Schulz; Teitelbaum; J. Lewandowski; G. A. Singer; S. Arnon

The study investigated the impact of streamwater flow velocities and the resulting bedform migration on the CO2 production in streambeds. State-of-the-art 2-dimensional imaging techniques reveal the CO2 distribution in the streambed, an increasing CO2 production in the upper sediment and a decreasing hydrological exchange with deeper sediment layers, with increasing flow velocities.

April 2023
Global Change Biology. - XX(2023)XX, XX

The unexpected long period of elevated CH4 emissions from an inundated fen meadow ended only with the occurrence of cattail (Typha latifolia)

Danica Antonijević; Mathias Hoffmann; Annette Prochnow; Karoline Krabbe; Mirjam Weituschat; John Couwenberg; Sigrid Ehlert; Dominik Zak; Jürgen Augustin

The authors present 14 years of CH4 flux measurements following rewetting of a formerly long-term drained peatland. During the study, significant differences in CH4 emissions occurred. These differences overlapped with stages of ecosystem transition from a cultivated grassland to a polytrophic lake dominated by emergent helophytes, but could also be additionally explained by other variables.

March 2023
Limnology and Oceanography Letters. - XX(2023)XX, XX

Anaerobic duration predicts biogeochemical consequences of oxygen depletion in lakes

Richard LaBrie; Michael Hupfer; Maximilian P. Lau

A team from TU Bergakademie Freiberg and IGB has developed an easy-to-use method to estimate the consequences of oxygen depletion in the deep water of lakes. Monitoring data from L. Arendsee and L. Stechlin, a.o., were used to model the spatiotemporal extent of anoxia. The novel tool has the potential to predict the ecological consequences of increasing anoxia in lakes due to climate warming.

Related Projects

Contact person
Mark Gessner
Sabine Hilt
(Dept. 1) Ecohydrology and Biogeochemistry
(Dept. 2) Community and Ecosystem Ecology
(Dept. 3) Plankton and Microbial Ecology

Related Downloads


City, country, river: modelling and managing nutrient pollution in lakes and rivers

Experts at IGB

Doris Düthmann

Research Group Leader
Research group
Ecohydrological Modelling and Hydrological Change

Tobias Goldhammer

Programme Area Speaker
Research group
Nutrient Cycles and Chemical Analytics

Michael Hupfer

Research Group Leader
Research group
Biogeochemical Processes in Sediments and Lake Management

Jörg Lewandowski

Research Group Leader
Research group
Ground Water-Surface Water Interactions

Markus Venohr

Programme Area Speaker
Research group
River System Modelling

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