PhD thesis “Fluvial meta-ecosystem modeling”

Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB)
August 21 2017
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Fluvial ecosystems are an important element in the global carbon cycle metabolizing large amounts of terrigenous organic matter (tOM). This contributes to CO2 evasion fluxes that are under continuous reevaluation at the global scale. In contrast, research on the underlying processes is concentrated at the local ecosystem scale. This scale-gap seriously hampers process understanding across scales, limits upscaling accuracy, and reduces our scope of reaction strategies. The ERC Starting Grant Project FLUFLUX (“Fluvial Meta-Ecosystem Functioning: Unravelling Regional Ecological Controls Behind Fluvial Carbon Fluxes”) aims to develop a deeper mechanistic understanding of fluvial carbon fluxes by investigating ecological processes at the intermediate ‘regional' scale of the ‘fluvial network‘. In particular, respiration of tOM is hypothesized to be an interactive product of organismic diversity and resource diversity, which both follow conspicuous patterns in river networks. From an ecological perspective, river networks may be aptly termed ‘fluvial meta-ecosystems”.

The aim of the open position is to develop a spatially explicit and dynamic meta-ecosystem model that is capable to reproduce natural patterns of biodiversity and resource diversity in river networks. The model shall serve two main purposes: (i) exploration of topological effects and impacts of anthropogenic interference through “in-silico” exploration of artificial river networks, (ii) generation of predictions (of biodiversity, resource diversity and functioning) for real river networks under imminent fragmentation threat. The model should be validated with lab- and field-based data generated within the project by other team members.

IGB is the largest freshwater

research institute in Germany ( with a mission for the

generation, dissemination and application of knowledge about freshwater

ecosystems). The IGB program is unique in that it combines basic and applied

research for the benefit of both. Cooperating intensively with the scientific

community (universities, research institutes), government agencies, as well as

the private sector, guarantees the development of innovative solutions to the

most pressing challenges faced by freshwater ecosystems and human societies. We

are a member of the Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V. (FVB) and the

Leibniz-Association ( IGB offers excellent laboratory and field

facilities for interdisciplinary research, large-scale experimental facilities,

as well as long-term research programmes and datasets. Furthermore, IGB has an

intensive PhD training programme and about 50 PhD students from approximately

15 different nations are employed at IGB.



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