Temporal analysis of physico-chemical and biological indicators of water quality in a lowland river in Northern Germany

Management of water resources is among the most important issues humans have been dealing with in the last decades and will remain one of the most concerning topics in the coming years. Anthropogenic activities have heavily impacted surface water bodies and groundwater, the main sources of fresh water supply. The quality of aquatic ecosystems has been globally degraded by industrial waste disposal, pollution from urban expansion, and the intensification of agriculture. Under the circumstances of climate change, awareness of the interactions between environmental parameters and water quality becomes even more necessary. It is important to better understand the transportation and conditions of nutrients in agricultural catchments to assess the status of both the abiotic and biotic factors.

Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) were chosen for this study as they are the major sources of water pollution and eutrophication in aquatic systems. They are the sources of nutrients, supporting the growth of aquatic organisms, such as diatoms. Diatoms are one of the most common groups of phytoplankton in rivers and are one of the most important primary producers in the food web. They were chosen as the bio-indicators as they are sensitive and quickly respond to environmental changes in their surroundings. Physico-chemical parameters which can affect the growth of diatoms have been widely investigated, though the influences of hydrological processes in rivers are still not fully understood. In addition, high frequent (i.e., minute resolution) data sets in hydrology are common but rare for hydro-biological research. Therefore, the scope of this thesis is to study the water quality variation from daily samples to analyze the interactions between physico-chemical factors and diatom communities in the study area.



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