Aquatic Ecology Projects - Euro-limpacs

Integrated project to evaluate impacts of global change on European freshwater ecosystems

The project addresses the impact of climate change on lakes, rivers and wetlands in Europe, through the pathways temperature increase, impact on hydromorphology, eutrophication, acidification, the release of toxic substances, and invasive species.

Euro-limpacs applies a wide variety of methodologies, including the investigation of freshwater ecosystems along climatic gradients in Europe, the analysis of sediment cores and modelling approaches. The Department of Applied Zoology / Hydrobiology of the University of Duisburg-Essen is particularly involved into studies on hydromorphology, and on freshwater ecosystem assessment.

By means of pairwise comparison of river sections characterized by multiple- and single-channel patterns we investigate the effects on hydromorphology, fish, benthic and riparian invertebrates. Similarly, we compare river stretches heated by power plants to unimpacted sections, to predict the impact of increasing water temperatures on river assemblages.

For large-scale assessment of climate change impacts on freshwater inhabiting organisms we have compiled knowledge about distribution patterns, habitat preferences and life cycles of selected freshwater organism groups into an online database (www.freshwaterecology.info). We use these data to extract species most sensitive to climate change and to compare the sensitivity of the biota of the European ecoregions.

These results and extensive literature studies have lead to a compilation of indicators for the impact of climate change on freshwater ecosystems (www.climate-and-freshwater.info).