Helmholtz Water Network

Research Platform 3: Integrated Analysis of Solute Fluxes and Processes in Regional Water Cycles (SolFlux)


Photo: T. Wöhling, Eberhard-Karls-UniversityTübingen

Fluxes, turnovers and fates

Climate change, growing human population, changing land use and the increasing numbers and quantities of anthropogenic substances released to the environment are predicted to influence the flux, turnover and fate of natural and anthropogenic substances in regional water cycles. The sustainable use and management of today’s water resources, as well as the prediction and protection of water quality and availability in the future depends on an integrated, interdisciplinary and processed-based understanding of the governing factors that control terrestrial water fluxes, aqueous reaction rates and consequently solute fluxes.

Research focus

The generation and quantitative understanding of respective in-depth process understanding at the regional or ecosystem scale is one of the grand challenges in the water science today. After several decades of research aiming at detecting, describing or predicting aquatic processes in small or meso-scale laboratory systems, in virtual settings or at specific field sites, it is now the time to link these pieces of knowledge to a new integrative understanding of regional-scale water quality and availability. The goal is to achieve a new level of understanding of solute fluxes and turnover processes at the scale most relevant for critical impacts on aquatic ecosystems and for the management of water resources.

WP1: Processes at interfaces

WP2: Dynamics on filter functions

WP3: New strategies to interlink processes and scales


Research within the Helmholtz Association (POF III):



  • COSYNA station Cuxhaven and MarGate Helgoland (HZG)

Activities with further partners:

  • CRC 1253 CAMPOS - Catchment as Reactors: Metabolism of Pollutants on the Catchment Scale (Coordination: Univ. Tübingen,  contributing institutions: HMGU, UFZ, University Hohenheim, University Stuttgart)
  • BMBF BonaRes - Centre for Soil Research (Coordination: UFZ, contributing institutions: TU München, FZJ, HMGU, KIT)
  • BMBF/BfN/BMU ArKoNaVera - Überregionales Artenschutzkonzept für Flussperlmuschel und Malermuschel (Coordination: TU Dresden, contributing institutions: UFZ, TU München)
  • BMBF GroundCare - Parametrisierung und Quantifizierung von Grundwasser-Ökosystemdienstleistungen als Grundlage für eine nachhaltige Bewirtschaftung (HMGU)
  • EU-Project: SOLUTIONS - present and future emerging pollutants in land and water resources management (coordination: UFZ, contributing institutions: RWTH Aachen)
  • EU-Project: GLOBAQUA - Analyse the effects of multiple stressors on biodiversity and functioning of aquatic ecosystems (Coordination: IDAEA-CSIC, contributing institutions: UFZ, Karls-Eberhard University Tübingen)
  • Research Network Eff-Net (contributing institutions: KIT, Univ. Tübingen)
  • Beyond pollutant removal - understanding the biochemical mechanism of sulfonamide degradation in wastewater and the role of ipso-substitution (KIT, EAWAG)
  • ERC-Grant: Anaerobic Pollutant Degradation with Oxygen (Koordination: HMGU)
  • ERC-Grant: Investigate Bottlenecks of Contaminant Degradation at Low Concentrations (Koordination: HMGU, weitere beteiligte Institutionen: Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen)
  • EU-Projekt: StARE - Stopping Antibiotic Resistance Evolution (Coordination: Universität Porto, contributing institutions: KIT, TU Dresden)
  • Process dynamics of hydrology and redox processes in regional water cycles and associated matter flows (Coordination: WasserZentrum München, contributing institutions: HMGU, University Bayreuth, TU München)
  • Ecosystem Dynamics in regional water cycle and associated matter flows (Coordination: WasserZentrum München, contributing institutions: HMGU, TU München)
  • Novel Approaches in Water Research for the description of dynamics within the regional water cycle and associated matter flows (Coordination: WasserZentrum München, contributing institutions: HMGU, Karls-Eberhard University Tübingen, TU München)
  • ECOLINK - The impacts of toxicants and climate change on freshwater ecosystems (UFZ)
  • EU ITN (International Training Network): INTERFACES - Ecohydrological inferfaces as critical hotspots for transformations of ecosystem exchange fluxes and biogeochemical cycling (Coordination: University of Birmingham, UK, contributing institutions: UFZ)
  • SFB: AquaDiva (Coordination: Friedrich-Schiller Universität Jena, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry (MPI-BGC), contribution: UFZ, Institute for Photonic Technologies e. V. (IPHT))
  • PhD-Twinning: "Development and use of integrative sampling approaches for drawing up of contaminant fingerprints" (HZG, UFZ)
  • PhD-Twinning: "Emerging pollutants in aquatic sediments" (HZG, UFZ)
  • TASK - Centre of Competence for Soil, Groundwater and Site Revitalisation (UFZ)
  • DFG-Research group: MUSIS - Multi-Scale Interfaces in Unsaturated Soil (Coordination: University Hannover, contribution: FZJ, UFZ)
  • DFG-SPP 1315: Biogeochemical Interfaces in Soil (Coordination: Friedrich Schiller Universität Jena, contribution: UFZ, TUM, HMGU, University Bayreuth, RWTH Aachen, University Potsdam, University Bonn)
  • DFG-Research group: INTERNANO - Mobility, aging and functioning of engineered inorganic nanoparticles at the aquatic-terrestrial interface (Coordination: Universität Koblenz-Landau, contribution: TUM, UFZ)

Completed projects:

  • WESS - Water - Earth System Science (UFZ, University of Tübingen, University of Stuttgart, University of Hohenheim)
  • TransRisk (German only) - Risikomanagement von neuen Schadstoffen und Krankheitserregern im Wasserkreislauf (Coordination: Bundesanstalt für Gewässerkunde, contributing institutions: KIT, TU Dresden)
  • Nanosan - Nanotechnological remediation: In situ application of iron-oxide-nanoparticles to eliminate inherited contamination (HMGU)
  • Yangtze Projekt: Impacts of the Three-Gorges-Dam on the environment with regard to water quality, vegetation, landslides, atmosphere (Coordination: FZJ, contributing institutions: KIT, TU München, Karls-Eberhard University Tübingen)
  • DFG-Research group: DyCap - Dynamic Capillary Fringes – A Multidisciplinary Approach (Coordination: KIT, contribution: UFZ, University Tübingen)
  • DFG-International Research Training Group : TERRECO - Evaluating ecosystem services in production versus water yield and water quality in mountainous landscapes (Coordination: University Bayreuth, contribution: UFZ, KIT)
  • DFG-Priority programme 1319: Biological transformations of hydrocarbons without oxygen: from the molecular to the global scale (Coordination: HMGU, contribution: UFZ)
  • EU-Project: GENESIS - Groundwater and Dependent Ecosystems (Coordination: Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research (Bioforsk), contribution: HMGU, UFZ)


Download brochure Helmholtz Water Network



07.-09.06.2017: International ICLEA Symposium „Climate Change and Landscape Evolution in North Central Europe“ (GFZ)

04.-18.8.2017 CAWR International Summer School "Network functional dynamics -
Technological, Human & Ecological Dimensions

Direct links:


Dr. Christiane Katterfeld
Phone: +49 391 8109101