The self-purification capacity of streams under the pressure of increasing nutrient pollution

The project PowerStreams was aimed to analyse the effects of nutrient loading and stream channelization on the efficiency and sustainability of the self-purification capacity of streams. We identified options for a sustainable management of stream ecosystems by quantifying the interaction of these different human impacts on the stream metabolism.

Together with pupils, were measure both the in-stream uptake of dissolved nitrogen and organic carbon and the in-stream production of green-house gases via short-term nutrient addition experiments. The investigations were carried out in natural as well as degraded stream reaches showing low to high nutrients loads. In laboratory experiments, pupils examined the potential of sediments to produce or retain nutrients and green-house gases under different environmental conditions within the scope of their pre-scientific theses. In addition, we analysed the effects of long-term additions of dissolved organic carbon on the metabolism and the water quality of streams. Based on our co-operations, we were develop a concept for the support of young academics through research weeks and joint supervisions of pre-scientific theses.

This project was a Young Citizen Science pilot project.

Within the framework of the additional Citizen Science element “PowerStreams” citizens collected water quality data according to a given protocol. This data are available for further scientific analysis and publication.

This project has been completed.