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Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2018-06-01 - 2021-05-31

Riverine ecosystems are the lifelines of the Danube River Basin (DRB). They are highly valuable in environmental (key ecological corridors), economic and social terms (e.g. navigation, hydropower, floodwater management), but are subject to increasing pressures related to intense human uses (e.g. pollution, hydromorphological alterations). River- and habitat continuity interruptions constitute one of these major pressures, as they hinder aquatic organisms to access vital habitats, disrupting their life cycles and thus, threatening overall aquatic biodiversity. The International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) has highlighted over 900 continuity interruptions present in the Danube/its major tributaries, stemming from different infrastructure projects such as flood protection, hydropower generation and navigation. These are barriers especially for fish and thus, for ecological corridors, by threatening their natural migration patterns and by preventing access to species specific habitats/spawning grounds in all sections of the Danube River. Although the need of river continuity restoration and its importance for species conservation was clearly highlighted in the Danube River Basin Management Plans (DRMPs) in 2009 and 2015, the implementation process still needs a harmonized approach at basin wide level. Thus, fostering the connectivity of habitats and promoting the establishment of ecological corridors for improving migratory paths of endangered fish species in the DRB is a clear need and requires concerted, transnational cooperation. Taking sturgeons and other migratory fish species (e.g. shads, barbel, nase etc.) as flagship species for all migrants of international relevance in the DRB, MEASURES aims to establish transnational ecological corridors by connecting protected habitats encompassed by the current network of protected areas along the Danube River and major tributaries with other critical hotspots for biodiversity. This will be based on the assessment of habitats and the development of strategic frameworks, an information system and concerted measures related to ex-situ conservation for endangered species. These actions are fully in line with the requirements of EU legislation as the Water Framework Directive (WFD), Habitats Directive (HD), Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD and Biodiversity 2020 Strategy. The harmonized strategy produced in WP6 will be disseminated at policy level in relevant countries and on transnational level, aiming to raise governmental and political support for embedding ecological corridors and key outputs of the project into the future national and international policy instruments (N2000 management plans, RBMPs, national action plans for species conservation etc.). All project outputs will significantly support the implementation of EUSDR targets for sustainable navigation development, water quality and biodiversity conservation (PA 01, PA 04, PA 06).
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2018-06-01 - 2018-12-31

Freshwater biodiversity remains relatively understudied in Sub-Saharan Africa and especially the Indian Ocean Islands (IOI). The IOI are characterised by unique biodiversity which exhibit high levels of endemism and are vulnerable to threats from invasive alien species, anthropogenic impacts and global climate change. While groups of aquatic insects such as Odonata are fairly well documented others critical to river health assessments, namely Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera and Trichoptera (EPT) taxa are not. Other important indicator organisms such as the group of algae known as the diatoms are also rather poorly documented. This project will address the need to manage the collation, digitisation, amendment and uploading of existing data for EPT taxa and diatoms from the IOI to GBIF. Furthermore, focused sampling efforts will be coordinated on the islands using – amongst others – citizen science tools in order to create awareness and obtain new distribution records. Collated data will be delivered to GBIF as well as integrated into the Freshwater Information Platform (FIP) where it can be used to assist with conservation efforts and monitor threatened or alien invasive taxa.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2017-10-01 - 2019-09-30

Production losses in aquacultuture facilities can be caused by many different reasons: predators, deseases and parasites, among others, resemble such reasons. The extent of losses due to the different potential causes are hard to differentiate in many cases. Increasing population densities of predators and their nature conservation status, respectively, is leading to conflicts with hatchery operators. Specifically the Eurasian otter increases its population during the preceding years and therefore is in the project's focus. We try to grasp the impact of predation in a artificial carp pond in the north of Austria as fully as possible and additionally aim at grasping all other potential influences on fish mortality, including a second pond nearby, which is protected against the otter by fencing the pond.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations