Partners projects

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Partners projects

BioFresh is not alone and has a lot of partner projects. Read what they are doing and how we collaborate and exchange our results and knowledge.

REFRESH (current partner)

Adaptive Strategies to Mitigate the Impacts of Climate Change on European Freshwater EcosystemsAdaptive Strategies to Mitigate the Impacts of Climate Change on European Freshwater Ecosystems

The challenge

The future status of freshwater ecosystems is dependent on changes in land-use, pollution loading and water demand. In addition the measures that need to be taken to restore freshwater ecosystems to good ecological status or to sustain priority species need to be designed either to adapt to future climate change or to mitigate the effects of climate change. Building on a previous EU FP6 Project, Euro-limpacs, REFRESH is concerned with generating the scientific understanding that enables such measures to be implemented successfully.


The key objective of REFRESH is to develop a framework that will enable water managers to design cost-effective restoration programmes for freshwater ecosystems. This will account for the expected future impacts of climate change and land-use change in the context of the Water Framework and Habitats Directives. REFRESH will evaluate a series of specific adaptive measures that might be taken to minimise adverse consequences of climate change on freshwater quantity, quality and biodiversity.

The focus is on three principal climate-related and interacting pressures; i) increasing temperature; ii) changes in water levels and flow regimes; and ii) excess nutrients.  REFRESH brings together rivers, lakes and wetlands scientists with expertise in hydrology, hydrochemistry and ecology, aquatic modelling and social science. Many of these have worked together previously on EU funded projects under FP5 and FP6. Of the 25 partners in REFRESH, 17 were involved in the FP6 Project Euro-limpacs which brought together these scientific communities in an Integrated Project for the first time.

Visit the REFRESH website


REFORM (current partner)

The overall aim of REFORM is to provide a framework for improving the success of hydromorphological restoration measures to reach, in a cost-effective manner, target ecological status or potential of rivers.

Success is defined as being hydromorphologically sustainable, ecologically effective, and exploiting the full potential within the socio-economic setting.

Cost-effective implies an optimisation of both ecosystem health and the goods and services that natural, modified and restored rivers, floodplains and connected groundwater provide.

To achieve this aim the REFORM consortium will develop protocols and procedures to monitor the biological response to hymorphological change with greater precision, to support the design of programmes of restoration and mitigation measures for the WFD, in particular for the upcoming 2nd round of RMBPs, and to integrate restoration better with socio-economic activities.

The specific objectives of REFORM are:

  • To select WFD compliant hydromorphological and biological indicators for cost effective monitoring that characterise the consequences of physical degradation and restoration in rivers and their services.
  • To evaluate and improve practical tools and guidelines for the design restoration and mitigation measures.
  • To review existing data and information on hydromorphological river degradation and restoration.
  • To develop a process-based, multi-scaled hydromorphological framework on European rivers and floodplains and connected groundwaters.
  • To understand how hydromorphological pressures interact with other pressures that may constrain successful restoration.
  • To assess the significance of scaling effects on the effectiveness of different adaptation, mitigation and restoration measures to improve ecological status or potential of rivers, floodplains and connected  groundwaters.
  • To develop instruments to analyse risk and assess benefits of successful river restoration, including resilience to climate change and relations to other socioeconomic activities.
  • To increase awareness and appreciation for the need, potential and benefits of river restoration.

Visit the REFORM website

WISER (former project)

WISER will support the implementation of the Water Framework DirectiveDirective 2000/60/EC to establish a framework for water policy and management in Europe (WFD) by developing tools for the integrated assessment of the ecological status of European surface waters. The project will analyse existing data from more than 90 databases compiled in previous and ongoing projects, covering all water categories, organism groups and environmental stressor types. Field-sampling campaigns will supplement the data on lakes and coastal systems. The data will be used to test and complement existing assessment schemes with a focus on uncertaintyMeasure of confidence to express the degree to which a result is subject to chance affects on classification strength.

Biological recovery processes after release from hydromorphological and eutrophicationEnhanced primary productivity caused by nitrogen and phosphorous pressures will be analysed. Therefore, large-scale data will help to identify linkages between pressure variables and organism’s responses. Selected case studies, using a variety of modelling techniques, will address pressure-response relationships and evaluate the efficacy of restorationActivity to improve the status of degraded waters, be it waste water treatment or structural improvements. WISER will provide guidance for the next steps of the intercalibration exercise by comparing different intercalibration approaches.

The applicability and swift implementation of results will be facilitated by cooperation of project partners and stakeholders from the very beginning of the Collaborative Project.

WISER Website

Euro-limpacs (former project)

Integrated project to evaluate impacts of global change on European freshwater ecosystems.

The project addresses the impact of climate change on lakes, rivers and wetlands in Europe, through the pathways temperature increase, impact on hydromorphology, eutrophication, acidification, the release of toxic substances, and invasive species.

Euro-limpacs applies a wide variety of methodologies, including the investigation of freshwater ecosystems along climatic gradients in Europe, the analysis of sediment cores and modelling approaches. The Department of Applied Zoology / Hydrobiology of the University of Duisburg-Essen is particularly involved into studies on hydromorphology, and on freshwater ecosystem assessment.

By means of pairwise comparison of river sections characterized by multiple- and single-channel patterns we investigate the effects on hydromorphology, fish, benthic and riparian invertebrates. Similarly, we compare river stretches heated by power plants to unimpacted sections, to predict the impact of increasing water temperatures on river assemblages.

For large-scale assessment of climate change impacts on freshwater inhabiting organisms we have compiled knowledge about distribution patterns, habitat preferences and life cycles of selected freshwater organism groups into an online database ( We use these data to extract species most sensitive to climate change and to compare the sensitivity of the biota of the European ecoregions.

These results and extensive literature studies have lead to a compilation of indicators for the impact of climate change on freshwater ecosystems (

In February 2009, the Euro-limpacs project came to an end. Output from Euro-limpacs (including answers to the key research questions and access to Project deliverables) is incorporated into the REFRESH project.

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