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Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2024-01-01 - 2026-12-31

Due to the accelerating hydro-climatic extreme events, there is high demand on adjusting water resources management so that water quantity and quality are secured through a combination of different techniques integrating land-use, surface water, groundwater, and ecosystem management. The Project Interlayer focuses on how water retention technologies can contribute to improve resilience, adaptation and mitigation to hydroclimatic extreme events while increasing water availability and quality by balancing groundwater and surface water management practices. It is related to shared interdisciplinary knowledge in the complex interlink of flood protection, safeguarding water availability and quality to mitigate and adapt to hydroclimatic extreme events. Interlayer will develop and demonstrate novel water retention technologies that favor slow hydrology entrance in the system for adaptation of European river basins to hydro-climatic extreme events and simultaneously obtain resilience in agricultural productive land, the adjacent ecosystems, and downstream cities. Farmland can stay productive despite hydro-climatic extreme events through smart water harvesting methods, adapted soil and cropping management, improved ecosystem management, temperature buffering by means of appropriate riparian vegetation management and establishment of adequate refugia system for biodiversity (including definition of appropriate protected pools). Risk of urban flooding is reduced by parking of water not only in the river valleys upstream from the city, but also in the highlands of the catchments, reducing runoff from uphill as part of the water harvesting to address drought. Hydro-climatic water balance models will be demonstrated to describe the exchange of water within the river basins between highland and lowland and between shallow and deep groundwater, in response to suggested changes in land-use management.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2023-11-01 - 2026-04-30

The MossDule project is concerned with the development of a moss-based BioTech filter facade technology. The MossDule will be used to vertically implement moss in urban areas on a large scale and to improve microclimate and air quality in the adjacent area. The goal here is to prepare a product development that revolutionizes the market of green facades and contributes to the reduction of high air pollution in urban areas. For this reason, this project is a possible product (green facade made of moss) as well as a service offered (air filtration/improvement of microclimate). With the MossDule, an optimized BioTech filter technology is to be integrated into the facade. In this way, a new type of "smart" (Internet-of-Things-controlled) urban greening could be established, which would have positive effects both on the climate balance of the buildings and on the immediate surroundings. This would differ significantly from conventional systems in terms of functionality and effectiveness. The technology is found at the interface between nature and technology: Specially cultivated moss cultures filter substances that are harmful to the climate and health from the air. Thus, fine dust can be separated from air flowing through. As a CO2-active green plant, moss absorbs CO2 and produces oxygen from it, ensuring a cooling effect in the immediate vicinity. Thus, moss greening on facades can effectively reduce the heating of building structures and reduce local heat islands. The MossDule is a moss-based facade greening system with high as well as active filtering performance. By integrating it into the facade, it is aimed at large-scale application. Thus, the positive effects in the urban space can be scaled. The system is to be designed in a modular fashion and meet all structural requirements (including fire protection, insulation, moisture protection) for facades. In the course of the development process, all framework conditions and interfaces to the building structure, building technology, anchoring systems and static requirements, etc. are taken into account and constructive, technical and design solutions are actively found. Thus, flexible reference can be made to individual facade requirements. In the project, the international consortium will carry out climatic chamber, wind tunnel and field tests, examine vegetation-technical parameters, microclimatic and filter performance as well as clarify questions regarding the optimization of the Moosträger substructure. Furthermore, vegetation-technical details for scalable façade planning and above mentioned framework conditions will be elaborated. Based on this, a scientifically sound impact analysis will be carried out using representative building structures in the inventory, which will allow real cost frame and benefit estimates. Subsequently, impact-based (alternative) financing and management instruments can be developed to support direct implementation on a broad scale.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2024-01-01 - 2025-10-31

Riparian zones are characterised by an extraordinary diversity of plant species and environmental processes. Despite their outstanding importance, riparian zones are among the most threatened ecosystems. In Austria, invasive neophytes particularly invade riparian habitats (softwood riparian forests, tall herbaceous vegetation, riparian pioneer vegetation). The invasion of alien species is causing the loss of natural riparian habitats and can have a severe impact on biodiversity. However, due to a lack of data, only limited statements can be made about endangered regions and watercourse types. Natura 2000 areas are one of the most important categories of protected areas in Austria in terms of their size. Control in protected areas such as European protected areas is a priority because they were established as refuges and habitats for endangered animal and plant species.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations