Concepts for an integrative ecological assessment of groundwater ecosystems status and services

Christian Griebler1
1 Institut für Grundwasserökologie, Helmholtz Zentrum München

O 6.1 in Groundwater biology

15.04.2016, 10:15-10:30, Plank Hörsaal, Geb. 40.32


Today the assessment of the ecological status of surface waters is routine and made its way into national and international (e.g. European Water Framework Directive) regulations. For groundwater and aquifers a comparable approach, considering ecological aspects, is still missing. In contrast, groundwater monitoring and management schemes follow almost exclusively physical-chemical and quantitative criteria. However, groundwater systems are ecosystems harboring diverse communities of microorganisms and invertebrates. Directly linked to these biological components, groundwater systems provide important ecosystem services of societal relevance, such as the natural production of clean drinking water, biodegradation of pollutants and elimination of pathogens, to name a few. In the recent past, we developed a first concept of an ecologically sound groundwater assessment scheme. Work included (1) the identification of biological/ecological criteria, (2) set-up of a groundwater ecosystem typology, (3) deduction of natural biological groundwater background values and definition of reference conditions for selected sites, and (4) a first evaluation model.


In the framework of the project consortium GroundCare, recently funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, ten partners from science, authorities and the private sector challenge and further develop the early concepts extending the focus to a qualitative and quantitative assessment of groundwater ecosystem services.


The talk will inform about preliminary results and developments in GroundCare and other current activities related to groundwater ecosystem status and services assessment.

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