Long-term dynamics in fish populations and habitats of European rivers: data, methodology and management applications

dummy1 DYNAFISH is a comprehensive study of the long term development of riverine fish communities from the Middle Ages onwards until present. The project is accomplished by two interdisciplinary research teams of river and fish ecologists, environmental historians and archaeologist from Austria and Russia. The spatial focus is on representative Alpine catchments (Salzach) and rivers from the Russian North as well as on rivers in urban environments (Vienna on the Danube, St. Petersburg on the Neva, Pskov on the Velikaya). The case studies will offer the possibility to analyse different natural but also different societal conditions. Our research is motivated by several research questions addressing methodological issues relevant for the reconstruction of past ecological conditions on the one hand and particular societal and natural conditions investigated in case studies on the other hand.

The project addresses three research topics. It will develop a comprehensive methodology for analysing long-term changes of riverine fish populations. This methodology builds on existing studies as well as on ecological knowledge of species traits and habitat-fish relationships. The second research topic will be dedicated to case studies. The case studies will reconstruct long-term changes of fish communities and populations, climate and temperature change as well as the societal alterations of fish communities and the riverine habitat. These elements will enable us to interpret long-term fish ecological changes against the background of dominating natural and human driving forces. A final research topic focuses on spatial differences in the historical development of fish communities through a cross national comparison. We will also draw general conclusions on how different environmental and societal processes shaped fish populations.

is funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF
Project number: I450 – B17
Project leader: Univ. Prof. Dr. Mathias Jungwirth
Institute of Hydrobiology and Aquatic Ecosystem Management
University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna