Soil type and land use as potential control mechanisms of river eutrophication

Excessive nutrient input largely impacts community structure and functioning of stream ecosystems in Central Europe (eutrophication). Within this project, we aim to evaluate the eutrophication potential of stream ecosystems. As a first step to achieve this aim, main control mechanisms influencing stream eutrophication have to be identified. We will analyze the impact of soil nutritional status (especially phosphorus), soil storage capacity, and soil nutrient release as well as land use on periphyton-grazer interaction. Therefore, we will study the periphyton-grazer interaction in the running water of 4 small catchments that differ with respect to their nutritional status, speciation and release at a forest site and an pasture site. In the field survey we will study (1) The input of macro nutrients (P and N), (2) community structure and biomass of periphyton and grazers, (3) emergence and (4) complexity of the food web and compare the results among the catchments. The periphyton-grazer interaction along nutrient gradients will be studied in more detail using laboratory flumes. By the use of geostatistical and remote sensing techniques we will interpolate macro nutrient input, -speciation and seasonality for the different catchments and link this information to periphyton quantity and quality as well as to periphyton-grazer interaction.


Research Initiative III of Rhineland-Palatine

Project team:

Daniela Mewes, Dr. Carola Winkelmann (Universität Koblenz-Landau),
Prof. Dr. Sandra Spielvogel