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Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2014-08-28 - 2015-06-30

As a result of global warming increased exceptional floods and extreme heavy precipitation events take place. So the risk of remobilization of deposits increases. Subsequently radioactive heavily contaminated sediments can be mobilized. At LLC-Laboratory Arsenal radioactivity of the danube compartiments: water (dissolved radionuclides), suspended matter and sediment are continuously monitored based on monthly composite samples and event-related samples during floods since 1984. This is a unique Central European radioecological long time series of measurements. The continuation of this sampling and data collection is of great importance to meet future challenges in radiation protection with regard to potential large-scale environmental contamination.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2018-09-01 - 2021-08-31

Root exudates are key drivers for rhizosphere spatiotemporal self-organization. Accurate information about quantity and quality of metabolites released by roots plays a central role in deciphering the complex biogeochemical processes at the plant-soil interface and their feedback loops. In the past, the majority of studies either treated exudation as a black box or studied root exudation in nutrient solution culture (i.e. hydroponic), mostly analyzing only individual exudate compounds or compound classes. Despite the operational benefit of hydroponics, the question remains how ecologically relevant exudation results obtained under hydroponic conditions are compared to soil environments and related rhizosphere processes. Here, we will apply different exudation sampling schemes to (i) uncover the spatiotemporal changes of and (ii) reveal the role of root hairs in maize (Zea mays wildtype and root hair-less mutant rht3) root exudation. Unlike studies in the past, we will focus on soil-based techniques that allow the collection root exudation rates unaltered by soil matrix interactions and microbial activity and capture the entire complexity of exudates released via advanced metabolite profiling by UHPLC-QTOF-MS. Exudation sampling will be carried out within the central platform experimental framework of the priority program 2089 in the growth chamber and field, including soil-hydroponic-hybrid approaches, rhizoboxes combined with an innovative root exudation collecting tool, as well as custom-designed exudation traps for sampling individual root segments. The traditional hydroponic-only setup will also be included as a reference to former studies. Experiments will be closely coordinated with other participants focusing on rhizosphere microbiology and plant genetics, which will enable us to link rhizosphere patterns to specific metabolite profiles released. In addition, we will conduct pioneer work revealing potential biases introduced by experimental conditions thus leading to a paradigm shift in approaches to assess root exudation rates and study exudate-driven processes in the rhizosphere. By identifying and applying ecologically meaningful root exudation sampling techniques in combination with advanced metabolomics analysis, we will elucidate ‘the missing link’ driving plant-soil-microbe interactions and rhizosphere pattern formation.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2018-06-01 - 2020-05-31

Disturbances attract a lot of attention as important driver of forest ecosystem development and the related provisioning of ecosystem services. Wind is among the most relevant disturbance factors in temperate forests. Moreover, wind disturbances are closely interrelated with other disturbance fac-tors such as bark beetles which results in complex disturbance regimes. While for predictive ecosys-tem modelling temperature and precipitation related climate drivers are well developed, the quality of wind speed data is low. Overall objective is to develop a methodology to “translate” RCM simulations into wind gust speed proxies that can then be used to drive forest models for climate change impact analysis and adaptation planning. We will use high-resolution weather models to reconstruct wind field structures that resulted in observed forest damage. Comparative analysis with related regional climate models (RCMs) will allow to derive proxies for wind gust speed at the spatial resolution of RCMs. The new wind gust speed estimates will be evaluated twofold: (1) With correlative modelling it will be evaluated how well the improved climate data sets can explain observed local storm damage in forests. (2) At regional scale we will use the improved climate data sets to simulate forest damages from wind and related bark beetle disturbances with a dynamic forets ecosystem model and compare the simulated damage with observed data. Overall, WINDFALLS will contribute to a substantial improvement in the ability to explain and project disturbance regimes.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations