Aquatic Biodiversity across temporal and spatial scales

Group leader: Robert Ptacnik

Plankton - the sum of the microscopic organisms that populate surface waters in lakes and oceans - are in the focus of the working group AQUASCALE. Areas of interest are: Which factors regulate plankton diversity? And how does diversity influence the funcitionality and integrity of ecosystems? AQUASCALE uses observational data to study the interdependence of local and regional diversity in plankton and other ecological communities.

Research topics:

• Experimental plankton ecology
• Biodiversity research
• Spatial ecology & Conservation

Link: AquaScale Lab



Biogeochemistry and Ecohydrology of Riverine Landscapes

Group leader: Gabriele Weigelhofer

Riverine systems are exposed to multiple natural and anthropogenic stressors, such as changes in the hydrological regime, river regulations, nutrients and organic matter inputs from the catchment, and climate change. BIGER studies the interactive effects of these stressors on the biogeochemical processes at the water-sediment-interface of streams, rivers, and floodplains as well as on their biodiversity. Our research focus lies on the resilience and resistance of these aquatic ecosystems to both, human impacts and restoration measures, and on the development of perspectives for a sustainable use and, thus, an improved ecological state of these systems.

Research topics:

• Aquatic Biogeochemistry
• Ecohydrology
• Riverine landscape - Human Society Interactions
• Biodiversity






Carbon cycling and the role of microbes from source to sea

Group leader: Katrin Attermeyer

Carbocrobe is dedicated to better understand and unravel the mysteries of the smallest organisms involved in the turnover of carbon in freshwaters from source to sea. We use experimental and field studies to uncover the role of microbes in carbon and other nutrient cycles in aquatic ecosystems.

Research topics:

• Aquatic Microbial Ecology
• Carbon Cycling from Source to Sea
• Environmental Change Research






Aquatic Lipid Research and Ecotoxicology

Group leader: Martin Kainz

Aquatic organisms acquire dietary nutrients, but also toxic substances. LIPTOX investigates the origin and composition of nutrition in different waters. Questions of special interest are, which diet delivers the most nutritious and physiologically required compounds, in particular lipids and their fatty acids, and which diets convey the least toxic substances. That is not only important for aquatic organisms, but also for humans as ultimate consumers at the top of the food chain.

Research topics:

• Food chain research
• Ecotoxicology
• Trophic lipid research





aquatic biodiversity and entomology research

Group leader: Simon Vitecek

Insects arguably contribute a significant portion of macrospcopic biodiversity in freshwater ecosystems. Focus of the working group is on diversity of aquatic insects, their evolutionary ecology and the constraining factors controlling local and regional biodiversity patterns in this group. Further, the importance of diversity as source of ecosystem function and connectivity shall be examined.

Research topics:

• Taxonomy and Systematics of Trichoptera and Plecoptera
• Aquatic biodiversity
• Evolutionary ecology of aquatic invertebrates models











Stream Ecology and Catchment Biogeochemistry

Research Group leader: Jakob Schelker

Small streams connect terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. They are subject to dynamic inputs of water, solutes and organisms from their catchments. The EcoCatch Group investigates how small streams receive, transform and pass-on these inputs and how these processes may be modified by changing environmental conditions, such as, for example warmer temperatures. This is relevant because small streams predetermine water quality in downstream rivers, lakes and groundwater aquifers, but also because they play a vital role in the global carbon cycle.

Research topics:

• Stream ecology
• Cycling of carbon and dissolved gasses
• Microbial ecology