Research Group of Aquatic Environmental Ecology (IBED-AEE)
The mission of AEE is to generate novel insights and understanding necessary for preserving and restoring aquatic ecosystems. A special focus of AEE is on the role of the benthic system in the functioning of shallow aquatic systems (shallow freshwater and coastal systems). Major areas of research are Environmental Ecology and Environmental Chemistry. Scientific insight into the functioning of ecosystems is to be tested and challenged under real world conditions and we wish to develop this insight together with scientists of related disciplines and with societal partners. This research commitment has an essential parallel in teaching: we wish to train students at all levels to follow fundamental and sound scientific approaches in order to understand the functioning of aquatic ecosystems and to solve complex water problems. Major research topics include:
- Benthic-pelagic coupling in both biotic and abiotic pathways.
- Effects of species population dynamics (macroinvertebrates, plants, fishes, algae) and bioturbation on element fluxes.
- Exchange of elements (like C, P, N, Si, …) between bottom and water and the element cycles.
- Food web interactions and other species interactions and the role of species adaptations (traits) that define these interactions.
- Effects of stressors and recovery on the aquatic system, especially on cycles, fluxes, species and species interactions.
- The fate of new substances (inhibitors/toxic stressors/nano particles) and their (long-term) effects on benthic and pelagic processes (like decomposition) and species/populations.
- The role of the benthic system as sink.
- The role of scale in interactions and processes.
- Dispersion and metapopulation effects on recovery processes.
- The ecological management of aquatic systems.
- Mitigation of aquatic ecosystem stressors.