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Institute of Hydraulic Engineering


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Margarete von Wrangell Fellowship for a postdoctoral lecture qualification
Project manager:Dr. rer.nat. Sabine Ulrike Gerbersdorf
Duration:1.9.2008 - 31.8.2013
Funding:Margarete von Wrangell Fellowship for a postdoctoral lecture qualification, financed by the Ministry for Science, Research and Art, County Baden Wuerttemberg, Germany and by the European Social Action (ESF)

This project is part of the research area:
Environmental Systems

Publications: Link


Macrozoobenthos and divers microbial forms (microalgae, fungi, bacteria) produce and secrete so called "extracellular polymeric substances" (=EPS) which serve for quite a huge range of functions (coating of worm tubes, facilitate moving, protection versus desiccation or toxicant, enrichment of nutrients etc). The interesting feature for us is the secretion of EPS for the adhesion of the organisms to their substratum, by which the sediment particles are glued together. This enhanced sediment cohesion is reflected in increased erosion resistance to a higher water discharge / flow velocity during flood events in rivers or storms in coastal areas. Thus, sediment stability determines, along with hydrodynamic conditions, if and to what extent, sediment will be eroded and possibly relocated by transport. While physico-chemical parameters have been regarded as the important drivers for sediment stability in the past, there is now a consensus that only an interd isciplinary research (including biological parameters) can address the complexity of sediment cohesion. These studies are to be complemented by studies on particles characteristics in cooperation with Prof. Giselher Gust (TUUH Hamburg/Germany), Prof. Jirka (University Karlsruhe, Germany), Professor David Paterson (SERG lab, University St Andrews, UK) and Prof. John Watson (University Aberdeen, UK) and Dr. Rupert Perkins (Cardiff University). At present, Mrs Helen Bykova (PhD- student from the KEYBIOEFFECT – Network https://portcorp.udg.edu/portals/keybioeffects) joins this work.