Near-natural lakes are important service providers
Urban rivers are affected by multiple stress
Sampling large and remote lakes
Habitat diversity and biodiversity
Near natural floodplains and river self-purification
Sampling large and remote lakes
Leaf decomposition as a key function of freshwater ecosystems

Welcome to MARS

We investigate how multiple stressors affect rivers, lakes and estuaries.
Formerly, rivers and lakes were impacted by strong, single stressors, e.g. by organic pollution or acidification. They were replaced by a complex mix of stressors resulting from urban and agricultural land use, water power generation and climate change.

  • In field experiments we address the effect of extreme climate events such as heavy rainfall, heatwaves and water scarcity, and the effects of environmental flows.
  • In 16 river basins throughout Europe we model the effects of water scarcity and flow alterations (Southern Europe); hydrology, morphology and nutrient stress (Central Europe); and hydrology and temperature alterations (Northern Europe).
  • Using Europe-wide data sets we will identify relationships between stress intensity, status and service provision, with a focus on large transboundary rivers, lakes and fish as direct providers of ecosystem services.
  • We help implementing European directives: the Water Framework Directive, the Floods Directive and the Blueprint to Safeguard Europe’s Water Resources.

mars-project.eu informs about the background of MARS, i.e. how we are connected to previous and ongoing research, about our aims and approaches, the methods we are using (experiments, catchments, data), and will in future inform about our results.

Our Freshwater-blog covers a wide range of current water management topics and is always worth a visit.

To understand what MARS stands for, watch the interview with Daniel Hering, the coordinator of the project and the "Introduction to MARS", a short video about how multiple stressors affect water bodies and how MARS comes in to answer the open questions. Watch videos.

Part of our work is the cooperation with other EU funded projects. See who our partner projects are and what they do.

EU flag

The MARS project (Managing Aquatic ecosystems and water resources under multiple stress) is funded
by the European Union under the 7th Framework Programme, contract no. 603378.

The project is coordinated by the Department of Aquatic Ecology/Faculty of Biology in cooperation with the Centre for Water and Environmental Research (ZWU), both located at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany.