Major research projects

Biodiversity and ecology in newly established lakes
During the last 20 years more than 50 larger lakes have been established in Denmark to increase biodiversity and reduce the transport of nutrients to downstream aquatic systems. But what are the drivers of community composition and quality of biodiversity of aquatic plants, birds and fish in these new lakes, and how are food webs build? This research project is conducted in collaboration with University of Southern Denmark and University of Århus and is funded by the Aage V. Jensen Nature Foundation. http://www.nyedanskesø

Extreme events – how common are they in fact?
Record high temperatures and long lasting drought periods followed by heavy downpours produce oxygen depletion in lakes and streams at unexpected sites. ”Once-in-a-century” events seem to have become more frequent. Using long time-series for temperature, wind, precipitation, transport of organic matter and oxygen in lakes, focusing especially on lake Filsø, we study the frequency and causes of once-in-a-century events in a changing world. The research is funded by the Aage V. Jensen Nature Foundation.

Carbon dynamics and CO2 de-gassing in lakes and streams
Lakes and streams are hot-spots for CO2 de-gassing, but the magnitude is related to the size of these systems and their surrounding land-use as either forest or open areas. We study de-gassing with newly developed measuring chambers, including other greenhouse gasses such as methane and nitrous oxide as part of the total C-budget in lakes, and we build budgets for the contribution from freshwaters to Denmark’s total CO2 emission. The project is funded by the COWI foundation and the Aage V. Jensen Nature Foundation.

The flora of Denmark and its biodiversity through time
More people, intensified agriculture, reduction of- and increased nutrient loading to natural areas have all led to reduction and extirpation of, in particular, small and vulnerable plants in the Danish nature. The negative trend is most pronounced in water where channelization and weed cutting in streams and eutrophication of lakes have eradicated aquatic vegetation in many parts. But also on land have many vulnerable plants been lost and replaced by nutrient loving and introduced species, increasing the total species number. What species traits could explain this development? Funded by 5. Juni Foundation.

Inducible barriers to radial O2 loss in plant roots
The project aims at assessing the delicate balance between anaerobic metabolites acting as signalling molecules for the formation of a barrier to radial O2 loss and the toxicity of these metabolites when acting as phytotoxins. This is a research collaboration with the University of Western Australia and Nagoya University. The project is funded by Independent Research Fund Denmark and EU Horizon 2020.

The ecology of high latitude and high altitude lakes
The harsh environmental conditions found at high latitudes such as Greenland and Svalbard have similarities to conditions found in high Alpine areas such as the Andes and the Himalaya. Low temperatures, low nutrient availability and often also little precipitation are known to limit the biodiversity and biological production in these areas. The long-term goal of this project is to shed light over commonalities and differences in species occurrences, food web interactions and controlling mechanisms in planktonic and benthic communities between regions. Funded by the National Research Council Agency and private foundations.

Winter limnology of Arctic lakes
Lakes and ponds in the Arctic are ice-covered for a majority of the year which imply a long period with little light and no connection between the catchment and the water body.  Because of this, it has been assumed that most biological processes were on hold until the ice melted in June-July. In this project 10 years of winter sampling campaigns combined with data from continuous logging instruments installed in lakes in different parts of Greenland has led to the new hypothesis that the (long) winter may be as important as the summer period for planktonic and benthic organisms. Funded by the National Research Council, the Environmental Agency and a private foundation.

Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP) – Freshwater
CBMP-freshwater is a consortium of partners across the Arctic that aims to harmonize and enhance long-term freshwater monitoring efforts. The Section takes part in this work and is a member of the Freshwater Ecosystem Monitoring Group (FEMG) which has developed an Arctic Freshwater Biodiversity Monitoring Plan to guide these efforts. An extensive Freshwater Assessment Report is underway (2019). Funded by the Danish National Environmental Agency and CAFF (Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna).

Snow- and ice-algae on glaciers
A specific microbial biome based on the presence of snow- and ice algae exist on glaciers and permanent snow fans. These microbes become active when light, nutrients and wetness of the ice/snows are optimal. Due to their pigmentation a high abundance of ice-algae may colour the surface of glaciers/ice fans, which in turn alters the reflection of sunlight significantly. This may lead to an increased melt rate of glaciers and to an accelerated disappearance of permeant ice and snow in high latitude/altitude regions. This phenomenon is studied in Greenland and the goal is to provide glaciologists with information on the role of biological processes for glacial melting. Partly funded the Environmental Agency and a private foundation.