Aquatic Ecology

Prof Dr. Helmut Schuhmacher

With deep regret we say farewell to Helmut Schuhmacher, who held the Chair of Hydrobiology at the University of Duisburg-Essen and its predecessor institutions from 1982 to 2005.

Helmut Schuhmacher shaped an entire generation of limnologists and marine biologists. His former colleagues now work in universities, museums, water organisations, planning offices and ministries throughout Germany. Helmut Schuhmacher established a modern management style with plenty of room for manoeuvre for his employees back in the 1990s. As a result, the Department of Hydrobiology grew rapidly and became one of the most important research centres for hydrology in Germany. After Helmut Schuhmacher's retirement, the department was taken over and further expanded by Prof Dr Bernd Sures, now under the name Aquatic Ecology. The former Department of Hydrobiology was thus the nucleus for the current aquatic focus of the faculty and university.

Helmut Schumacher died on 21 November 2023 in Dannenberg.

Nachruf (in German)


University of Duisburg-Essen
Faculty of Biology
Aquatic Ecology
Universitätsstr. 5
45141 Essen, Germany

Head of research group
Prof. Dr. Bernd Sures
Prof. Dr. Daniel Hering

Birgit Rieth
Jutta Schumacher

Current research

Read which research projects are currently being carried out by the Aquatic Ecology group or in which projects our scientists are involved.

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Current PhD projects

Find out what exciting and interesting topics our doctoral students are currently researching in their work and projects.

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Master, Bachelor & Internships

We offer doctoral, master, bachelor and examination theses as well as internships in all research areas, in a dynamic and internationally networked working group in a good atmosphere. If you are interested, please contact us or the persons mentioned in the text.

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CRC 1439 Collaborative Research Centre

RESIST investigates how water bodies and their habitats respond to multiple stresses. The project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and runs for four years with a funding volume of 12.3 million euros.

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21 million EU funding for renaturation Finding natural solutions

MERLINMainstreaming Ecological Restoration of freshwater-related ecosystems in a Landscape context: INnovation, upscaling and transformation

MERLIN seeks new, widely applicable solutions for restoring the functions of freshwater ecosystems, for example to improve flood retention and store carbon dioxide.

The project involves 44 partners from across Europe, including universities, research institutes, nature conservation organizations, and stakeholders from business, government, and municipalities.


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Online platfrom Water assessment tools

The platform serves to provide online calculation tools for determining the ecological quality of water bodies and is operated by Aquatic Ecology on behalf of the Federal Environment Agency.

Currently available are the methods  Phytofluss (Phytoplankton), Phylib (Phytobenthos and Makropyhten), Perlodes (Makrozoobenthos) and fiBS (Fische).

The use of all services of is free of charge.

At the moment the platform is only avalibale in German, but other languages are possible and might come in the near future.

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Online platform European information platform for freshwater

The online platform bundles information and results from freshwater ecosystem research. It makes data freely available and is intended to stimulate new research approaches in this field. It offers a unique and comprehensive knowledge base for a sustainable and evidence-based management of our threatened freshwaters and resources. The Aquatic Ecology operates the platform together with three other European institutes.

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Latest publications from the Aquatic Ecology group

Diaz-Morales, D.M., Bommarito, C., Vajedsamiei, J., Grabner, D.S., Rilov, G., Wahl, M. & Sures, B. (2022) Heat sensitivity of first host and cercariae may restrict parasite transmission in a warming seay, Scientific Reports 12, 1174, link to article

Kaiser, N. N., Ghermandi, A., Feld, C. K., Hershkovitz, Y., Palt, M. & Stoll, S. (2021) Societal benefits of river restoration–Implications from social media analysis. Ecosystem Services, 50, 101317, link to article

Palt, M., Le Gall, M., Piffady, J., Hering, D. & Kail, J. (2021) A metric-based analysis on the effects of riparian and catchment landuse on macroinvertebrates. Science of The Total Environment, 151590, link to article

Vermaat, J. E., Palt, M., Piffady, J., Putnins, A. & Kail, J. (2021) The effect of riparian woodland cover on ecosystem service delivery by river floodplains: a scenario assessment. Ecosphere, 12(8), e03716., link to article

Le Gall, M., Palt, M., Kail, J., Hering, D. & Piffady, J. (2021) Woody riparian buffers have indirect effects on macroinvertebrate assemblages of French rivers, but land use effects are much stronger. Journal of Applied Ecology, 00, 1-11. , link to article

All publications

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