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.
• 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.
• Aquatic Biogeochemistry
• Riverine landscape - Human Society Interactions
Stream Ecology and Catchment Biogeochemistry
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.
• Stream ecology
• Cycling of carbon and dissolved gasses
• Microbial ecology
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.
• Food chain research
• 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.
• Taxonomy and Systematics of Trichoptera and Plecoptera
• Aquatic biodiversity
• Evolutionary ecology of aquatic invertebrates models