Model-based assessments of freshwater ecosystems and species under climate change

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Title: Model-based assessments of freshwater ecosystems and species under climate change
Authors: K√§rcher, Oskar
Thesis advisor: Prof. Dr. Karin Frank
Thesis referee: Prof. Dr. Danijela Markovic-Bredthauer
Abstract: Climate change, global warming and anthropogenic disturbances are threatening freshwater ecosystems globally. The protection and preservation of freshwater environments, its biodiversity and all of its services for human well-being requires comprehensive knowledge of the impacts that climate change and anthropogenic disturbances have on freshwaters and freshwater species. In-depth knowledge needed for conservation strategies can be established through versatile assessments. Quantitative assessments and the investigation of prevailing environmental relationships within ecosystems constitute the basis for sustaining freshwater systems. However, it is a great challenge to quantify the multifaceted effects of climate change and to broaden the understanding of complex environmental relationships. This thesis aims at contributing to an extension of the understanding of climate change impacts on freshwater ecosystems and environmental relationships, which implies the provision of useful guidelines for the protection and preservation of freshwaters. For this, various statistical approaches based on comprehensive data sets are applied at different scales, ranging from local to global assessments. In particular, five research studies investigating the (1) water quality-nutrient and temperature relationships in European lakes, (2) drivers of freshwater fish species distributions across varying scales in the Danube River delta, (3) globally derived thermal response curves and thermal properties of native European freshwater species, (4) differences between thermal properties derived from native and global range data, and (5) thermal performances of freshwater fish species for different life stages and different global future dispersal scenarios are presented to address the effects of environmental change. Main results of this thesis comprise various aspects of conservation implications and planning. (i) The first study outlines drivers influencing water quality through studying multi-dimensional relationships and compares different modelling techniques in order to outline models that are suitable for the identification of complex driver interactions. (ii) The second study addresses scale effects on the performance of species distribution models, which are commonly used for assessments of climate change impacts, and identifies key predictors driving distributions for the varying scales and studied species. (iii) The third study parameterizes thermal responses of species from different taxonomic groups and assesses the potential resilience in terms of warming tolerance and additional thermal properties as well as the influence of future rising temperatures on current distributions. (iv) The fourth study quantifies the differences in thermal response curves and thermal properties for freshwater fishes derived from global and continental data in order to clarify the need for using global range data in studies making suggestions for conservation planning. (v) The last study estimates the impact of changing climatic conditions on species distribution ranges of two fish species for different time periods by including biotic information about thermal performances for various life stages. Overall, this thesis contributes to the broad field of studying consequences and impacts of climate change on freshwater ecosystems. By applying statistical methods tailored to the underlying investigations, useful implications for conservation planning are derived.
Subject Keywords: freshwater ecosystems; statistical modelling; data science; species distribution modelling; water quality modelling; climate change
Issue Date: 14-Oct-2019
License name: Attribution 3.0 Germany
License url:
Type of publication: Dissertation oder Habilitation [doctoralThesis]
Appears in Collections:FB06 - E-Dissertationen

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