Project groups


Project leader:
Dr. Sonja Jähnig

My primary research is the combination of different models to predict the impact of climate change on stream ecosystems, focusing on stream benthic invertebrates. The research is based on species distribution models (SDMs) at different spatial scales which are constantly improved e.g. by considering stream networks and actual water temperatures. In close cooperation with hydrologists we work on the integration of hydrological and hydraulic models into SDMs and the analysis how the incorporation of hydrological and habitat parameters may improve predictions. Besides analysis of species range changes or altitudinal shifts due to climate change these results are additionally used to estimate effects on ecological assessment results in Germany and Europe.

Current Projects

1) Modelling climate change-induced shifts in ecological and climatic niches for selected macroinvertebrate species (B1.2). Further development of such models to improve projections, e.g. by integrating water temperatures and development of stream-specific algorithms to extrapolate measurement data.

2) Integrated modelling of the response of aquatic ecosystems to land use and climate change in the Poyang lake region, China (DFG-Project in cooperation with Uni Kiel, CAS Wuhan).

3) Large scale analysis of climate change induced hydrological changes by a combined analysis of ecological and hydrological data and model results (EcoWater).

4) Aquatic biodiversity patterns along climate Gradients for selected macroinvertebrate Groups

5) Detecting climate-sensitive zones in Nepal, central Himalaya: Implications for climate change monitoring

Finished Projects

1) Climate change influence on the ecological quality of streams: Literature review and vulnerability analysis: Freshwaterbiology and climate change (german only: Fließgewässerbiologie und Klimawandel)

2) Climate change effects on biological quality of streams and rivers in Hesse



Li, F., Cai, Q., Qu, X., Tang, T., Wu, N., Fu, X., Duan, S. & S.C. Jähnig (2012) : Characterizing macroinvertebrate communities across China: Large-scale implementation of a self-organizing map. - Ecological Indicators 23: 394-401.

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