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Research topics

Invasive gobies

©Fabian Gräfe

Due to massive anthropogenic use and engineering, the River Rhine has become a hotspot for species invasion. Gobies for example, invaded the Rhine in different waves and very likely also from different directions. Since 2010, we conduct standardized angling campaigns to monitor goby abundances. Past research has focused on the ecological niches of the coexisting goby species. Currently, we are focusing on the latest invasion in the River Rhine, the Caucasian Dwarf Goby Knipowitschia caucasica that was reported first in 2019. We are studying the mating tactics and population dynamics of this fish.

Ecological succession and population dynamics in gravel pit lakes

©Alex Popov

The lowlands of the Lower Rhine have huge deposits of sand and gravel that have been mined in this area for the last 100 years. The resulting gravel pit lakes are on of the most common type of water bodies in this area. In a project funded by the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt, the Ecological Research Station is investigating population dynamics of aquatic organisms in two gravel pit lakes that have the peculiarity of being fish-free, or were fish-free until recently. The natural invasion of subleak Leucaspius delineatus in 2019 allows us to investigate changes in species communities due to top-down effects under natural conditions.

Burbot in the River Rhein

©Fabian Graefe

The burbot Lota lota is a freshwater fish that has been classified as threatened with extinction in North Rhine-Westphalia. The Stiftung Wasserlauf NRW is carrying out a conservation project that was funded by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation. The Ecological Research Station provides scientific support for this project, particularly regarding the ecology of this fish species.