Department of Conservation Biology

Working Group Floodplain Ecology

Riverine landscapes perfom important roles for the natural balance and are of central importance for humans. They provide a large set of services, such as the provision of drinking water or flood protection, they allow agriculture and let us recreate in stunning landscapes. The biological diversity of these ecosystems is often exceptional high, but due to the intense utilization riverine landscapes are among the most threatened ecosystems worldwide.

Using integrative approaches, our working group aims to link ecological processes in riverine landscapes and the societal demands on these systems. For this, we combine standardised fieldwork and modern data analysis. We also seek tight networking with social scientists within and outside the UFZ to create a timelyscientific basis for a sustainable use of riverine landscapes.

Die Elbe bei Schönberg Deich
The Elbe River during flood 'dike opening Rosslau' (Juin 2013), photo: A. Kuenzelmann, UFZ
Die Elbe bei Schönberg Deich
The Elbe River close to the floodplain 'Schönberg Deich' (January), photo: C. Schulz-Zunkel

In our work, we especially investigate:
- ecological processes in riverine landscapes, especially the effects of multiple
  stressors on biodiversity
- the multifunctionality of riverine landscapes and assess exisiting trade-offs
  between ecosystem functions and services
- the effects of river and floodplain restoration measures (dyke relocations,
  river course revitalizations) on biodiversity and ecosystem functions

Ongoing projects

Selection of completed projects

Key publications

  • NATHO, S., VENOHR, M., HENLE, K. & C. SCHULZ-ZUNKEL (2013): Modelling nitrogen retention in floodplains with different degrees of degradation for three large rivers in Germany. Journal of Environmental Management, 122, 15 June 2013: 47-55.
  • SCHINDLER, S., KROPIK, M., EULER, K., BUNTING, S.W., SCHULZ-ZUNKEL, C., HERMANN, A., HAINZ-RENETZEDER, C., KANKA, R., MAUERHOFER, V., GASSO, V., KRUG, A., LAUWAARS, S., ZULKA, K.-P., HENLE, K. , HOFFMANN, M., BIRÃ., M., ESSL, F., JAQUIER, S., BALÃIZS, L., BORICS, G., HUDIN, S., DAMM, C., PUSCH., M., VAN DER SLUIS, T., K.-P., SEBESVARI, Z. & T. WRBKA (2013): Impact of multifunctional floodplain management on biodiversity: a systematic review protocol. Environmental Evidence 2:10. DOI:10.1186/2047-2382-2-10.
  • GERISCH, M., DZIOCK, F., SCHANOWSKI, A., ILG, C. & K. HENLE (2012): Community resilience following extreme disturbances: the response of ground beetles to a severe summer flood in a Central European lowland stream. River Research and Applications, 28: 81–92. DOI: 10.1002/rra.1438 .
  • SCHOLZ, M., MEHL, D., SCHULZ-ZUNKEL, C., KASPERIDUS, H.D., BORN, W. & K. HENLE (2012): Ökosystemfunktionen von Flussauen - Analyse und Bewertung von Hochwasserretention, Nährstoffrückhalt, Kohlenstoffvorrat, Treibhausgasemissionen und Habitatfunktion. Naturschutz und Biologische Vielfalt 124: 17-33.
  • GERISCH, M. (2011): Habitat disturbance and hydrological parameters determine the body size and the reproduction strategy of alluvial ground beetles. In: KOTZE, D.J., ASSMANN, T., NOORDIJK J., TURIN, H & R.VERMEULEN (Eds): Carabid Beetles as Bioindicators: Biogeographical, Ecological and Environmental Studies.ZooKeys 100 Special issue: 353-370.
  • GERISCH, M., AGOSTINELLI, V., HENLE, K. & F. DZIOCK (2011): More species, but all do the same: contrasting effects of flood disturbance on ground beetle functional and species diversity. Oikos. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0706.2011.19749.x.
  • DZIOCK, F., GERISCH, M., SIEGERT, M., HERING, I., SCHOLZ, M. & ERNST, R. (2011): Reproducing or dispersing? Using trait based-habitat templet models to analyse Orthoptera response to flooding and land use. Agricultre, Ecosystems & Environment. Agricultre, Ecosystems & Environment, 85-94.
  • FOLLNER, K., HOFACKER, A., GLÄSER, J., DZIOCK, F., GERISCH, M., FOECKLER, F., ILG, C., SCHANOWSKI, A., SCHOLZ, M. & K. HENLE (2010): Accurate environmental bioindication in floodplains in spite of an extreme flood event. River Research and Application. : 26(7):877-886 DOI: 10.1002/rra.1300.
  • ILG, C., DZIOCK, F., FOECKLER F., FOLLNER K., GERISCH M., GLAESER J., RINK, A., SCHANOWSKI A., SCHOLZ, M., DEICHNER, O. & K. HENLE (2008): Long-term differential reactions of plants and macroinvertebrates to extreme floods in floodplain grasslands. Ecology:Vol. 89, No. 9 : 2392-2398.