Research in the field of ‘Aquatic Systems Biology’ addresses the following core questions: What governs the productivity and biodiversity distribution in aquatic ecosystems? How and to what extent do natural and anthropogenic factors (e.g. extinction events or invasions of neobiota) affect the functioning of these systems? How can effective strategies for aquatic biodiversity conservation be developed which consider both ecological and genetic processes?
We address these questions by combining molecular methods such as molecular genetics and stable isotope analyses with classical methods from ecology, limnology, ecotoxicology and biology of aquatic organisms. This interdisciplinary research approach includes the development of methods for the assessment of aquatic habitat quality, the development and application of molecular genetic markers for aquatic non-model species, analyses of trophic interactions in aquatic ecosystems, as well as the development of stress biomarkers in fish and molluscs. An understanding of the underlying mechanisms and of the links between population structure, life history strategies, and ecological niche are an important basis for the conservation of aquatic biodiversity.