Research

Current projects

Einzugsgebietsbezogene, geodatenbasierte, ökologische Analyse der Fließgewässerkolmation: Grundlage für ein innovatives Lösungskonzept und die Entwicklung angepasster Maßnahmenvorschläge

Funded by DBU (German Federal Environmental Foundation)

Researcher associated with the project

Hans Jürgen Hahn

Heide Stein

 

GroundCare

Groundwater is the second largest freshwater deposit and for many countries the most important drinking water resource. Functioning, healthy groundwater ecosystems are essential for high quality drinking water, and they minimize costs of processing groundwater for drinking purposes. GroundCare is a multidisciplinary project, which is led by the Helmholz Institute in Munich, Germany and funded by the BMBF (German federal Ministry of education and Research). The aim is to parametrize and to quantify groundwater ecosystem services as a basis for sustainable water management and water pollution control by biomonitoring. Multiple parameters are evaluated (physico-chemical parameters, microbial and fauna community composition, ecotoxicological effects). The subterranean fauna can be used as bio-indicators to validate groundwater conditions, in particular surface water intrusion. The discrimination of epigean from stygobiotic fauna is the simple and basic idea of this approach. During the project, molecular identification through DNA Barcoding and Metabarcoding of groundwater invertebrates is being implemented and compared to traditional morphological bio-assessment.

For more details see https://bmbf.nawam-rewam.de/projekt/groundcare/

Researcher associated with the project

Hans Jürgen Hahn

Klaus Schwenk

Tobias Siemensmeyer

 

Ecological genetics of interspecific hybridization

For many evolutionary biologists, questions about the nature of species–what they are, how they originate, how they are maintained and how they disappear–are among the most fundamentally interesting in all of biology. Since Darwin (1859) first described hybrid formation in the context of speciation, interspecific hybridization has attracted the attention of many evolutionary biologists. Hybrids are formed when different species interbreed, resulting in the combination of genetic material from previously isolated gene pools. Because of these properties, examples of interspecific hybridization have been described as “natural laboratories for evolutionary studies” or “windows on evolutionary process”.

In this project we focus on species of the genus Daphnia and use their dormant stages, so called biological archives, as well as planktonic samples. Employing genetic and experimental approaches we analyse the genetic architecture of hybrid complexes and the factors that cause their co-existence.

Researchers associated with this project

Anne Thielsch

Klaus Schwenk

 

Evolutionary responses to changing climate

Hessian State Initiative for the Development of Scientific and Economic Excellence (LOEWE)

Biodiversity loss and climate change are among today's great challenges. To understand them and their close and numerous interactions science has to address and bridge both processes. This interdisciplinary scientific research is the aim of the LOEWE Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiKf).

In close collaboration with BiKf we use a natural phenomenon, so called biological archives, to study the adaptation to global change at the pheno- and genotypical level. Many animal and plant species generate seeds and resting eggs (biological archives) which either may allow to endure unfavourable conditions or to facilitate dispersal. Resting eggs of aquatic organisms are known to be viable even after drying or freezing for several decades, therefore, we are able to compare organisms from different times with each other.

For more details see www.bik-f.de

Researchers associated to this project

Klaus Schwenk

Kerstin Kuhn

Nicole Henning

Maike Herrmann

 

Finished projects

Biological Impacts of Ocean Acidification (BIOACID)

Aim of this research initiative is to study the consequences of different environmental changes-in particular, ocean acidification and temperature rise-on the whole marine pelagial community.

In several mesocosm experiments in the laboratory and in the field, BIOACID scientists simulate possible changes: The Kiel mesocosms-floating structures, each including up to 80 cubic metres of water-are employed in 2013 for studies in the Swedish Gullmar Fjord and 2014 in the North Atlantic Ocean in Gran Canaria.

For more details see www.bioacid.de

Researchers associated to this project

Klaus Schwenk

Julia Langer