MARS performs field experiments to assess the combined impacts of stressors on selected indicators. We use artificial river channels at four sites to address running waters, and at three sites we use mesocosms in standing waters to address shallow and deep lakes.
All experiments cover a common set of stress combinations and indicators, while in some experiments new, more complex indicator types are addressed.
The river experiments address hydrological stress, in particular water scarcity / environmental flows, combined with different water temperatures, habitat conditions and nutrient levels.
The lake experiments target extreme events (extreme rain, extreme thermal events, extreme mixing) in combination with nutrient enrichment.
Ongoing experiments on the effects of hydropeaking and thermopeaking on aquatic life are carried out at a facility known as HyTEC close to Lake Lunz in the Austrian Alps.
The MARS team is studying how algae and macroinvertebrate populations are impacted by hydropower releases, using a series of experimental channels where variables such as water flow and temperature can be controlled and ecological responses monitored.