Actual Projects

The project "ORganic Carbon cycling in WAter Reservoirs of Brazil and Germany: influence of land use and hydrology – ORCWAR” will characterize and quantify the input and output of organic carbon to the Itupararanga dam south of Sorocaba as well as the transformation processes occurring within the water column and the sediments with the special aid of isotope analyses. Similar investigations are performed at the Rappbode Reservoir in the Harz Mountains of Germany. The project aims to quantify the particle removal and carbon storage in the sediments as well as the identification of sources within the catchment by using different extraction and fractionation schemes for carbon and humic substances. To get these ambiguous goals the following steps have to be conducted:
• Sampling of water and suspended particulate matter (SPM) at the main inflows at different season and within the lake water column
• Measurement of discharge of the main tributaries during the water sampling
• Chemical analyses of nutrients and major ions within the water samples
• Isotopic analyses of organic carbon of the water and the SPM
• Fluorescence characterization of the water samples
• Installation of sediment traps within the water column to collect settling particles (seston)
• Sampling of seston and determination of carbon and nitrogen concentrations and organic carbon isotopic composition
• Sampling of sediment material at several positions along the reservoir to quantify the amount of carbon within the top layer of the sediment
• Analyses of the isotopic composition of the sediment for organic carbon
• Extraction, purification and enrichment of humic substances from sediment, porewater, soil, and soil water
• Determination of HS concentration and chemical and isotopic characterization
• Evaluation of the land use within the catchment of the dam (preferentially by GIS)
• Sampling of typical soil within the different subcatchments and determination of carbon and nitrogen concentrations and organic carbon isotopic composition
• Calculation and balance for the organic carbon cycles of the dams

Goal: In this project, we investigate the processes that control the abundance and characteristics of gas bubbles in freshwater ecosystems, along with an assessment of their role in transporting gases, dissolved and particulate matter. We distinguish between bubbles generated by air entrainment at the water surface, bubbles nucleating in the pelagic zone due to excess dissolved gas pressure and bubbles formed in aquatic sediments. We hypothesize that these three different types of bubbles have distinct properties.

The ISIMIP ( is a framework for projecting the impacts of climate change across sectors and spatial scales. The project has created an international network of climate-impact modellers contributing to a comprehensive and consistent picture of the world under different climate-change scenarios. In the Department of Lake Research at UFZ, scientists are using one- and two-dimensional models to simulate how climate change will affect lakes and reservoirs. We are firstly investigating the physical changes that occur as a result of warming, such as an increase in water temperature, decrease in ice cover, and changes in stratification and mixing. Ultimately, modelling results from different sectors will be combined to assess the integrated and more indirect effects of climate warming, like how land-use change and altered patterns of nutrient export from catchments will affect freshwater ecology and water quality.

The ISIMIP enables a large number of international scientists to join forces towards a common goal. For instance, we are working together with lake modelling teams from Switzerland, Belgium, Sweden, the United States, Ireland, and other countries. Each team is using different models to simulate the same climate warming scenarios in the same set of lakes. This method, called “ensemble” modelling, delivers more reliable model projections and a better idea of the uncertainty in our results. The initiative is ongoing and funded independently for each researcher, including contributions from UFZ.

The correct quantification of the mass and energy exchange between inland waters and the atmosphere is of great importance for both scientific and practical issues. Exact direct measurements are possible, but expensive and technically challenging. Thus, different gradient approaches, such as the ‘turbulent boundary layer’ (TBL) approach, provide the methodological backbone to determine diffusive gas fluxes, energy fluxes and evaporation rates from inland water utilizing easy–to–measure limnologic and atmospheric variables. However, the reliability of such flux approximations significantly depends on (i) the parameterisation of the transfer coefficient and (ii) the representativeness of input data. In order to enhance our capabilities to determine fluxes from inland waters, exchange processes will be intensively studied in this project. In particular, we aim to (A) improve the predictive power of gradient approaches and (B) quantify effects of spatial and short-term variations of meteorological and limnological drivers on flux approximations.
Two long-term and four additional short-term intensive measurement experiments will be performed at Bautzen reservoir in Lusatia (Germany) to observe mass and energy fluxes under different weather and limnic conditions as well as on different scales of space and time. A floating outdoor laboratory equipped with an eddy covariance measurement system and several meteorological, hydro-chemical and hydro-physical sensors will be used for direct continuous measurements of fluxes and variables that are unaffected by land surfaces and are representative for the pure water-atmosphere-interaction. Three additional satellite platforms with a simplified set-up will be utilized to detect the spatial variations of atmospheric and limnic conditions along the fetch. Furthermore, the occurrence and the effects of surface films and micro-stratification in the uppermost water layers will be examined by additional hydro–chemical field and laboratory experiments.
The combination of experimental fieldwork, statistical analyses and model–based investigations as well as the nexus between limnological and micrometeorological researches provide the foundations to better understand the processes that are relevant for the mass and energy exchange on different temporal and spatial scales. Our analyses will focus on the development of novel methods to (a) parameterise atmospheric transfer coefficients, especially under low turbulence conditions, (b) evaluate effects of limnological phenomena such as micro-stratification and surface films, and (c) quantify influences of atmospheric and limnologic heterogeneities on flux estimates. Additionally (d), we will examine atmospheric turbulence structures and develop models for the numerical description of spectra and cospectra of atmospheric variables to improve the correction of damping losses and therefore the fidelity of eddy covariance measurements above water surfaces.