1+1=3 – Publication in Nature Ecology & Evolution
What happens when climate change and industrial agriculture interact? What is caused by water scarcity and pesticide residues in water bodies? Biologists from the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) spent four years researching questions like these with an international team in the MARS project (Managing Aquatic ecosystems and water Resources under multiple Stress). Their results* are published today in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.
The MARS scientists investigated how two different stressors interact in water bodies. Dr. Sebastian Birk and Prof. Dr. Daniel Hering of the UDE Department of Aquatic Ecology led the project.
The researchers focused on lakes and running waters throughout Europe. Experiments were carried out, for example in Lake Stechlin near Berlin, and existing data from the water industry were evaluated (e.g. from the Ruhr catchment area). „There are still too many nutrients in the lakes, they come mainly from agriculture,“ explains Dr. Birk. Currently, nutrients are affecting lakes even more than rising temperatures or water scarcity. In the case of rivers, however, it is often possible to see how the two pressures interact. „If two of them – such as rising temperatures and wastewater – have an effect, both must be reduced, otherwise sustainable water protection is not possible,“ he is convinced.
Researcher Birk formulates as follows how harmful the multiple stresses actually are: „Often, 1+1=3. The actual effect of two stressors is greater than their sum.“ In these cases, the extent of necessary restoration measures is often misjudged.
* Birk, S. et al.: Impacts of multiple stressors on freshwater biota across spatial scales and ecosystems, in: Nature Ecology & Evolution, 15th June 2020:
Editor: Alexandra Niessen, Tel. +49 (0)203/37-91487, email@example.com
Dr. Sebastian Birk, Tel. +49 (0)201/18-33218, sebastian.birk@uni-.due.de
Prof. Dr. Daniel Hering, Tel. +49 (0)201/18-33084, daniel.hering@uni-.due.de