Young Academics Conference 2015



The Young Academic Conference "Land-Water-Interactions" is an conference for young academics from young academics of the Aufland projects. The meeting was held at the Keysermühle in Klingenmünster, Germany from 26. to 28. November 2015.

The program includes an R workshop, different sessions and discussion as well as social interactions. The final program you find here.

group photo workshop

Photo: Group photo of the international participants

The sessions:

Session 1: Project Moscofee - "Indirect effects of mosquito control on food chain in seasonal wetlands"

The project Moscofee (Mosquito Control and Food chain effects) investigates the direct and indirect effects of mosquito control in seasonal wetlands. The control program targets mosquitoes in their larval stage but other non-target midges like chironomids could also be affected at certain doses. Hence midges are important for aquatic (in their larval stage) and terrestrial (as imagines) organsims and also occur in high abundances in wetlands they are a vulnerable food ressource for amphibians, spiders, birds, bats, fish and other predators on land and water. Our research focusses on newts since they feed on the dipteran larvae in all developmental stages and therefore could be affected by changes in the food web. In this session first findings on potential effects on non-target organsims are presented and should be discussed within an ecological context.

Chairs: Anna Kästel and Stefanie Allgeier


Session 2: Project Watermeadows -  "Grassland management,  phytodiversity  and soil organisms"

Extensive grassland management practices are crucial drivers to maintain biodiversity. However, it is challenging to combine biodiversity conservation with high agricultural yields. Traditional lowland meadow irrigation used to be a common management practice to improve hay production but it has been widely abandoned throughout Europe due to land use intensification. In the Queich floodplain near Landau (Rhineland-Palatinate) approximately 350 ha of water meadows have remained and are used as a model region to investigate the long-term and short-term impact of this traditional management regime on the biodiversity and ecosystem processes. This session aims to discuss our previous findings as a basis for prospective management options as well as the practicability of meadow irrigation for grassland management.

Chair: Isabell Müller and Rebekka Gerlach


Session 3: Project Aquater - "Links between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems"

Streams and their adjacent riparian zones are closely linked by reciprocal flows of energy and biomass. However, land use, climate change and other anthropogenic stressors can result in habitat changes and consequently altered populations and communities. This session determines how aquatic and terrestrial food webs are coupled and how different stressors may affect the importance and magnitude of interhabitat transfers using different experimental designs and different methods.

Chairs: Bonny Krell and Nadin Graf


Session 4: Project Eutrophication

Excessive nutrient input is a major stressor impairing structure and function of lentic freshwater systems in Central Europe. These impairments are embraced by the term “eutrophication”. In order to assess the eutrophication potential of a stream/river it is necessary to evaluate the major control mechanisms of benthic algae biomass. A major role in this context plays the periphyton-grazer-interaction.

In this study the effect of different catchment characteristics, such as soil nutrient supply, nutrient storage capacity, nutrient export and landuse, on the periphyton-grazer-interaction is studied. To do so the results of field studies and lab experiments are compared and evaluated. In the field studies four mountain streams (LAWA Type 5) from catchments with different geogenic phosphate supply are sampled with respect to (1) nutrient concentration (macro nutrients: phosphate and nitrogen), (2) periphyton, (2) grazer and (3) overall food web structure.

Chair: Daniela Mewes


Session 5: Project Soil Genetics - "Soil organism genetics"

Knowledge about biodiversity is essential for the understanding of ecosystem processes. However, the true biodiversity in soil remains poorly known as its assessment is difficult. Reasons are for example small body sizes of most organisms, high abundances and sampling methods. Additionally, taxonomic and evolutionary knowledge is rare. Other challenges are juvenile life stages, which hamper taxonomic identification, and undescribed cryptic species. Therefore, the use of genetic tools in the assessment of soil organism diversity has increased enormously during the last decade, especially for the micro fauna. However, large knowledge gaps still exist for meso and macro fauna.

This session aims to get an overview also for future prospects of soil biodiversity assessment investigated by molecular techniques. Additionally, the impact of irrigation on the biodiversity of mites (Acari), springtails (Collembola) and earthworms (Lumbricidae) will be presented.

Chair: Lena Bauer