Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Frankfurt

River Ecology and Conservation

The LTER-site "Rhine-Main-Observatory"

The Rhine-Main metropolitan region is one of the most densely populated regions of Europe. The intense human use has caused a marked decline or disappearance of many animal and plant species, as well as entire habitats. This biodiversity loss is one of the most pressing environmental problems of our time. However, we still lack a sufficient understanding of the complex interactions between human land use and biodiversity.

In the Rhine-Main-Observatory we investigate through intensive long-term studies, how habitat fragmentation, land-use and climate change jointly affect biodiversity. For this purpose we monitor different communities associated with freshwater ecosystems. In parallel, extensive geographical, physical and chemical environmental variables, along with sociological data are collected. It is through this comprehensive long-term and large-scale approach that far-reaching conclusions about the causes of changes in biodiversity can be drawn. This in turn, allows the prediction of the effects of future land-use or climate-induced changes on biodiversity as well as to infer recommendations for the protection of endangered species and habitats. With the extensive available data sets, its strategic location and well-equipped research station in Gelnhausen, the Rhine-Main-Observatory is a modern platform for biodiversity research in Europe.


river Kinzig