Project lead:

The project is lead by WasserCluster Lunz – Biological Station GmbH. WasserCluster Lunz  ( is a non-profit aquatic ecosystem research centre run by the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) Vienna in co-operation with two other universities. The focus of the BOKU working group “Biogeochemistry and eco-hydrology of riverine landscapes (BIGER)”, led by Dr. Gabriele Weigelhofer, lies on biogeochemical processes and nutrient and carbon cycling in aquatic ecosystems, ecosystem resistance and resilience research, and the restoration and management of riverine landscapes.

Dr. Gabriele Weigelhofer, the leader of PURIFY, provides over more than 20 years of research experience in stream ecology, aquatic biogeochemistry, and restoration ecology. During the last 10 years, she has focused on carbon and nutrient cycling at the water-sediment interface and in the hyporheic zone of human-impacted streams (including in-stream nutrient uptake kinetics).

Dr. Elisabeth Bondar-Kunze provides over expertise in the development and physiological state of periphyton communities under hydraulic and temperature stress and will, thus, lead WP2.

Via the conjunction to the IHG of BOKU, the project will additionally benefit from the expertise of Prof. Thomas Hein in issues of stream management and from his good contacts to water management authorities.

Project Partners:

Partner 1: University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) Vienna, Institute of Water Management, Hydrology and Hydraulic Engineering (IWHW), Priv.-Doz. DI Dr. Michael Tritthart

The institute of Water Management, Hydrology and Hydraulic Engineering ( is part of the Department of Water, Atmosphere and Environment at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna. The institute has a high international reputation for carrying out research in applied river management and engineering projects. Dr. Michael Tritthart heads the computational river modelling group at the institute. He has developed several numerical models for hydrodynamic and sediment transport modelling as well as for hydro-environmental simulations, including the two-dimensional hydrodynamic model RSim-2D which will be used in the present project.


Partner 2: University of the Basque Country (UPV-EHU), Dr. Daniel von Schiller

The Group of Stream Ecology (GSE), Department of Plant Biology and Ecology, University of the Basque Country does basic and applied research on the relationships between the structure and function of stream ecosystems, the linkages of the stream with its catchment, the effects of natural and man-made disturbances on streams, as well as on restoration of ecosystem services. The research of Dr. Daniel von Schiller focuses on nutrient and carbon cycling in intermittent rivers. Currently, he is coordinating the EU project GLOBAQUA (7th Framework program; In addition, he is Working Group leader and member of the Steering committee of SMIRES (H2020 Cost Action;, as well as member of the core teams of the international initiatives “1000 Intermittent Rivers Project” ( and “DryFlux” (


Partner 3: Brandenburg University of Technology, Department Freshwater Conservation, Apl. Prof. Dr Michael Mutz

The working group of Prof Mutz in den Department of Freshwater Conservation has long standing experiences in basic research on the interplay among stream bed sedimentary structures and the sediment associated metabolism, in which the vertical hydraulic connectivity and the advective mass transfer across the stream bed is of central importance. Since a few years main focus within this context is on the processing of organic matter in streams under climate change scenarios, precisely various forms of hydrological drought (drying and rewetting), hence the group has expertise in performing experiments on the response of sediment biofilms to drought and rewetting.