The Institute of Hydrobiology and Aquatic Ecosystem Management (IHG) is one of seven institutes within the Department of Water, Atmosphere and Environment at the University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU). The institute consists of an interdisciplinary group of aquatic ecologists, landscape ecologists, river engineers, biogeochemists and historians organised in seven working groups. Our staff includes six permanent scientists, 30 PhD candidates and post-docs, and three technical and administrative staff members. The institute’s research deals with the functions, processes, and structures of aquatic ecosystems and their environment, with a focus on hydromorphological dynamics, nutrient cycles, food chains, habitat demands, biotic interactions, aquaculture and fishery.

IHG has played a key role in the Europe-wide development and implementation of WFD compliant assessments for rivers, and has coordinated and participated in numerous EU-funded projects, especially in FP5, FP6, FP7 and H2020. Currently IHG is involved in the MARS project (FP7) evaluating the impact of multiple stressors on European freshwaters. Moreover, IHG has also participated in the EU INTERREG/REGIONAL FUND projects SEE HydroPower (South East Europe) and AIM – Alpine space In Movement (Alpine Space) with the goal to summarise state-of-the-art freshwater research to be then transferred to policy actors and decision makers. Other research projects include work in Asia and Africa.

In AQUACROSS, BOKU-IHG leads WP4, Drivers of Change and Pressures on Aquatic Ecosystems. BOKU-IHG also coordinates and manages the Danube case study, “Danube River Basin – harmonising inland, coastal and marine ecosystem management to achieve aquatic biodiversity targets”. This case study includes the entire Danube catchment from its source to the delta, and involves contact with several institutions and stakeholders in the region. BOKU-IHG also supports work in WP5 (Causalities between Biodiversity, Ecosystem Functions and Services) through contributions to the analyses of causalities, WP6 (Information Platform) through contributions regarding freshwater-related data management and WP7 (Forecasting Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service Provision). Moreover, BOKU-IHG contributes to AQUACROSS WP1 and 2 in terms of stakeholder engagement and policy orientation.

Dr. Thomas Hein

Dr. Thomas Hein has extensive expertise in river/wetland/floodplain ecology and biogeochemistry of aquatic ecosystems and ecosystem management. His expertise comprises nutrient and organic matter cycling and biodiversity aspects in riverine landscapes, research on interactions between fluvial dynamics and ecosystem processes, stable isotope application, the conservation and restoration strategies for riverine landscapes, nature conservation and nutrient management in river basin management. He is responsible for coordinating all BOKU-related work, coordinating WP4, Drivers of Change and Pressures on Aquatic Ecosystems, the Danube case study and contributing to all WPs with regard to case-study specific knowledge.

Dr. Astrid Schmidt-Kloiber

Dr. Astrid Schmidt-Kloiber is a river ecologist with a background on benthic invertebrates and expertise in database design, development and management. She has established and is responsible for, a Europe-wide trait database for fish, macro invertebrates, macrophytes, diatoms and phytoplankton. She is experienced in handling all kinds of freshwater-related (meta)data, she manages the Freshwater Metadatabase and has founded the Freshwater Metadata Journal. Astrid is leading the development of the Freshwater Information Platform, providing up-to-date information on freshwater science as well as an array of research resources and tools for the assessment and management of freshwater ecosystems. Within AQUACROSS, she is mainly involved in WP6, contributing freshwater-related knowledge in data management and experiences in the establishment of online information systems.

Dr. Stefan Schmutz

Dr. Stefan Schmutz has expertise in fish ecology, bioassessment and river restoration. He is experienced in coordinating EU projects focusing on fish-based assessment methods (FAME, EFI+) and has expertise in fish habitat and conservation, hydropower impacts, channelisation, environmental flow, fish passes, climate change, river restoration and river management.

Andrea Funk

Andrea Funk is an expert in the field of wetland ecology with a special focus on organismic biodiversity as well as restoration and conservation of river-floodplain systems. She was involved in the model framework development in the EU FP7 project WETWIN. Presently her research focuses on meta-community dynamics in floodplain networks and species-distribution modelling with a special emphasis on floodplain restoration. She is involved in WP5 of AQUACROSS, Causalities between Biodiversity, Ecosystem Functions and Services, to review and analyse different model approaches linked to biodiversity and ecosystem functions in the case studies.

Florian Pletterbauer

Florian Borgwardt is a stream ecologist with a focus on environmental impacts, including climate-change effects on aquatic communities. He was involved in the EU FP7 projects WISER and Biofresh, and is currently part of the FP7 MARS project team. His work addresses trends and patterns of environmental drivers and pressures, including natural as well as human factors, and their role in driving aquatic communities. He is experienced in GIS systems and various statistical methods (e.g. multivariate techniques, species distribution modelling). He is involved in WP3, WP4 and WP7 of AQUACROSS, contributing to the development of the AQUACROSS Assessment Framework, reviewing and analysing driver-pressure-relationships, identifying relevant indicators in riverine ecosystems, and forecasting potential changes.

Dr. Rafaela Schinegger

Rafaela Schinegger is a river ecologist with a focus on how fish assemblages respond to/are threatened by different specific and multiple human pressures in Europe’s running waters and at a variety of different geographical scales. She is especially interested in the implementation of the EU WFD related bio-assessments as well as science-policy interactions and knowledge transfer. Rafaela is experienced in the coordination of research projects on fish ecology, sustainable hydropower use and ecosystem services in the Alps and across Europe. She was involved in the EU FP6 project EFI+ and is currently part of the FP7 MARS project team, where besides scientific research, she coordinates all BOKU activities. Rafaela will be involved in WP4 and WP7 of AQUACROSS, reviewing and analysing driver-pressure-fish-relationship, and identifying relevant indicators in riverine ecosystems. Further, Rafaela supports AQUACROSS WP1 and 2 with stakeholder engagement and policy orientation.

Daniel Trauner

Daniel Trauner is a river ecologist with a background on benthic invertebrates. His work started with studying benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages in Burkina Faso, West Africa, to test and develop bio-assessment systems for sub-sahelian water bodies. In the last years, his work focused on the Danube and its floodplains around Vienna, investigating ecological functions and processes, habitat diversity and benthic macroinvertebrates. He is experienced in biotic monitoring and habitat modelling of various aquatic and semi-aquatic species groups as well as using GIS and statistics software. In AQUACROSS Daniel will contribute to CS3 - the Danube Basin - and WP4.


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