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Effect of macrophytes on C-N-P-Si fluxes - an integrated model approach

Project Leader
Hein Thomas, BOKU Project Leader
Joint Projects
Type of Research
Basic Research
Project partners
University of Antwerp, Campus Drie Eiken, Universiteitsplein 1, D.N.216, 2610 Wilrijk, Belgium.
Contact person: Jonas Schoelynk;
Function of the Project Partner: Koordinator
Preiner Stefan, Project Staff (bis 30.09.2021)
BOKU Research Units
Institute of Hydrobiology and Aquatic Ecosystem Management (IHG)
Funded by
Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (FWF) , Sensengasse 1, 1090 Wien, Austria
Though macrophytes can be found within the whole catchment and are affecting the whole ecosystem structure of streams, their role in organic matter and nutrient transformation has obtained less attention. Therefore the main aim of the project is to quantify the effect of macrophytes on downstream C-N-P-Si fluxes in rivers, a key aspect to understand fundamental ecosystem processes and the basis for future management decisions. At present, most studies in this field are simplified, either by detailing only the biogeochemical process or by incorporating only the impact of vegetation on hydraulics. In this study both aspects will be combined in a dynamic coupled model to cover the complex interaction of processes an integrated, numerical model will be developed. A hydrological state-of-the-art 2D model will be coupled with a water quality model (DELWAQ) and an aquatic vegetation growth model. This will be done stepwise, starting with basic biogeochemical processes, adding macrophytes which are affecting flow patterns and biogeochemical transformations, and finally implement sediment/water interactions.
Simulations will be done on sub-catchment scale and cover the vegetation periods of two years. For this study we will select a sub-catchment of the River Danube that has several small vegetated river sections with different plant: water ratios. To set-up the integrated model, a field sampling campaign assessing hydrological and limnochemical parameters, as well as macrophyte development and sediment characteristics will be conducted. These investigations will be complemented with experimental approaches to determine macrophyte growth and decomposition rates of organic matter in the sediment. The findings of the project will expand our knowledge on the role of macrophytes and provides new insights in these complex interactions and how these will be affected by future developments.
integrated modeling; nutrient and organic matter cycling; ecohydrology; macrophytes;

** Reitsema, RE; Preiner, S; Meire, P; Hein, T; Dai, YR; Schoelynck, J Environmental control of macrophyte traits and interactions with metabolism and hydromorphology in a groundwater-fed river.

RIVER RES APPL. 2021; 37(2): 294-306. WoS FullText FullText_BOKU

** Preiner, S; Bondar-Kunze, E; Pitzl, B; Weigelhofer, G; Hein, T Effect of Hydrological Connectivity on the Phosphorus Buffering Capacity of an Urban Floodplain.

FRONT ENV SCI-SWITZ. 2020; 8, 147 WoS FullText FullText_BOKU

** Preiner, S; Dai, Y; Pucher, M; Reitsema, RE; Schoelynck, J; Meire, P; Hein, T Effects of macrophytes on ecosystem metabolism and net nutrient uptake in a groundwater fed lowland river.

SCI TOTAL ENVIRON. 2020; 721, 137620 WoS PubMed FullText FullText_BOKU


Dai, Y; Hein, T; Preiner, S; Schoelynck, J (2018): Mechanisms responsible for interactions between macrophytes and bacteria in a river..

International Society of Limnology - XXXIV Congress, AUG 19-24, 2018, Nanjing, China

Preiner, S; Dai, Y; Reitsema, R; Schoelynck, J; Meire, P; Hein, T (2018): Effects of macrophytes on organic matter and nutrient turnover.. [Poster]

15th International Symposium on Aquatic Plants, Feb 18-23, 2018, Queenstown, New Zealand

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