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Freshwater Information Platform


Helmholtz Zentrum für Umweltforschung (UFZ)

The UFZ was established in 1991 as the first and only centre in the Helmholtz Association of National Research Centres (HGF) to be exclusively devoted to environmental research in a great variety of fields. It currently employs around 900 people. UFZ has already become a world-wide acknowledged centre of expertise in biodiversity and sustainable landuse research. The UFZ has a strong focus on interdisciplinary research involving ecologists, social and legal scientists, and economists. Relevant commissioned research topics are research projects on habitat fragmentation, biodiversity indicators and monitoring.

Klaus Henle

Klaus Henle (PhD) is head of the Department of Conservation Biology. His research focuses on biodiversity conservation with particular emphasis on landuse change effects on biodiversity, habitat fragmentation, biodiversity monitoring, and indicators. He coordinated the EU-project EuMon (EU-wide monitoring and systems of surveillance of species and habitats of Community interest). Currently, he is the coordinator of the EU-project SCALES (Securing the Conservation of biodiversity across Administrative Levels and spatial, temporal, and Ecological Scales)


Mathias Scholz

Mathias Scholz (Dipl.-Ing.) is landscape planner with special expertise in riverine wetlands. Within the EU-projects EVALUWET and Euro-limpacs, he was working on the functional assessment in floodplains and the impact of climate change on floodplain functions. He has worked on conservation priorities in the EuMon-Project. Currently he is working on restoration perspectives on floodplains in Central Europe.


Christiane Ilg

Christiane Ilg (PhD) is specialized in hydrobiology; she has experience in stream biodiversity and the use of functional indicators in rivers. Her current research focuses on the biological functioning of floodplain ecosystems, extreme flood events, and the impacts of floodplain restoration measures on biodiversity.


Irene Ring

Irene Ring (PhD) is deputy head of the Department of Economics at UFZ. Her research focuses on environmental federalism, conservation economics, regional sustainability, and environmental policy instruments. Together with Klaus Henle, she coordinated the EU-Project FRAP that developed a generic framework for biodiversity reconciliation action plans.


April 2013 - News

The Issue 06 of the BioFresh Newsletter is out now.

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Annual BioFresh meeting - News

The 4th annual BioFresh meeting is just around the corner! The focus of this year’s meeting will be on the interface between science and policy and making freshwater biodiversity science more politically influential.

The fourth annual meeting of the BioFresh project will be held next week from April 15-19 in the trendy Germany city of Leipzig. The slogan of this year’s meeting is “BioFresh goes political”, which captures the focus of linking BioFresh science with policy and conservation outcomes. The meeting is a chance for members from our 19 partner organisations of the BioFresh team to get together and assess the progress of the previous 3 years and discuss plans for the final phase of the BioFresh project.

July 2012 - News

The Issue 05 of the BioFresh Newsletter is out now.

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December 2012 - News

New DAET maps available. The BioFresh contingency fund serves as additional support for non-partner organisations to adapt, complete and submit databases that are of interest for BioFresh.

NATURE paper - News

NATURE paper: Cryptic biodiversity loss linked to global climate change

Climate impacts on biodiversity are usually assessed at the morphospecies level with effects at the genetic level less well studied. Now research into the distribution and mitochondrial DNA variability of nine mountain-dwelling insect species shows that range contractions will be accompanied by severe loss of genetic diversity as the climate warms, implying that conventional assessments may underestimate losses.

Read more on the Nature website

Freshwater: the essence of life - News

Scientists and photographers joined their efforts to publish a large-format illustrated book in the CEMEX conservation book series on “Freshwater: The Essence of Life”.  The book was coordinated by Conservation International and involved scientists from all over the world, including many BioFresh partners.  They contributed to the different chapters drawing a picture of the amazing richness of freshwater ecosystems, and raising awareness on why Earth’s freshwater supplies and systems are in peril. These ecosystems have proved resilient throughout millennia, but in the last few decades, human activities have drastically modified and destroyed them to the point of alarm. The book was launched on December 6th in Cancun at the UNFCCC COP 16.

Freshwater: The essence of life. (2010).Russell A. Mittermeier, Tracy A. Farrell, Ian J. Harrison, Amy J. Upgren, Thomas M. Brooks.  Series editor: Cristina Goettsch Mittermeier

For more information visit the Conservation International website.

A short animation: What is BioFresh? - News

We’re delighted to present a short animation produced by Paul Jepson and colleagues at Oxford University which outlines BioFresh’s work in helping improve the protection and management of global freshwater ecosystems.

View animation

Water lives - News

“Water Lives…” is a new science communication animation designed to draw attention to the important (yet largely invisible) biodiversity which underpins and sustains our freshwater ecosystems. Produced by Rob St.John and Paul Jepson at the School of Geography and the Environment for BioFresh the animation brings artists and scientists together to collaborate and communicate the concept the idea that freshwater is more than an inert resource: instead a living, dynamic system inhabited by beautiful, important organisms largely unseen by the naked eye. “Water Lives…” invites viewers to engage with their freshwater environments, perhaps value them in new ways and engage with how they should be managed [...]

Read more and watch the film on the BioFresh blog

Protect the “Amazon of Europe” - News

Danube’s most valuable and best preserved floodplain system along its entire 2,850 kilometers length is threatened with destruction: the "Kopački Rit" in Croatia. A major project to regulate this unique region is currently in the final stage of decision. If the project becomes reality, the natural Danube will be transformed into a monotonous canal, with fatal consequences for its wildlife: The white-tailed eagle, the black stork and the Danube sturgeon would be in severe danger of extinction.

For more ínformation go to www.amazon-of-europe.com

Interessting blog - News

National Geographic’s Freshwater Initiative "Water Currents is part of the National Geographic Society’s freshwater initiative, a global effort to inspire and empower individuals and communities to conserve freshwater and preserve the extraordinary diversity of life that rivers, lakes, and wetlands sustain..." (from NG's website)

Read more on newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/blog/water-currents/