RHEOPHYLAX: Ecology, Diversity and Assessment of Freshwater Invertebrates

Leader: Wolfram Graf
Deputy: Patrick Leitner

Key research areas

  • Ecology and taxonomy of benthic macroinvertebrates 
  • Biodiversity of freshwater ecosystems (mainly rivers, streams and floodplains) 
  • Zoogeography, phylogeny, phylogeography and classifications of conservation status for aquatic species 
  • Effects of climatic changes and of non-indigenous species (Neozoa)
  • Assessment and mitigation of effects related to anthropogenic activities
  • Development, test and standardisation of methods for assessing the water quality and ecological status of rivers and streams 
  • Generation of identification keys for scientists, students and professionals

The main focus of research and education of the working group is the ecology and taxonomy of benthic macroinvertebrates (river bottom-dwelling organisms, e.g. larvae of insects, crustaceans, and mussels) throughout Europe, the Himalayan Region, and parts of Africa as a basis for biomonitoring. Issues of biodiversity of freshwater ecosystems like streams, rivers and the adjacent floodplains as well as effects of anthropogenic activities (river control structures, pulse- release and retention caused by hydropower, siltation, pollution, climatic changes and non-indigenous species etc.) are subject matters of research. As a necessary goal the activities of the working group serve as a basis for a sustainable and harmonized use of nature.  

Key Persons