News from MARS and other projects

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New MARS metadata papers published in the Freshwater Metadata Journal

April 2016. Recently three more MARS teams have published information about their model catchments as metadata papers in the open access Freshwater Metadata Journal. In total characterising data of 7 European MARS river basins are now available in the Journal.

read more: Freshwater Metadata Journal

Stakeholder workshop Vienna, April 2016

Click to see more pictures from the event


Click to see more pictures from the event

Last week in Vienna, a group of around 60 river basin managers, Water Framework Directive officials, European Environment Agency representatives, external experts and MARS aquatic scientists met to discuss the key challenges for freshwater management and policy across Europe.

Central to the two days of discussions was the challenge of multiple pressures: the often unpredictable interactions between individual pressures on freshwaters, such as pollution, floods, droughts and river bank alterations.  Despite growing awareness of the importance of multiple pressures, their joint impacts on aquatic ecosystems are not well understood, and as a result they are poorly reflected in existing River Basin Management Plans – the framework through which the Water Framework Directive is implemented in Europe.


Multiple Pressures in River Basin Management from Freshwater Blog on Vimeo.

One week of multiple stressors and freshwater life

March 7-11, 2016. The MARS mid-term meeting in Fulda, Germany, was joined by 90 scientists from 17 EU countries and also a guest scientist from New Zealand. A whole week of discussing and working together, talking about first project results and oncoming papers in multiple sessions and workshops.

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Launch of the Freshwater Information Platform

May 6th, 2015

Four European research institutes have launched an online platform to make information from a large set of freshwater ecosystem research activities accessible to all. The Freshwater Information Platform offers a forum for information exchange and open-access publishing of maps and data, and aims to stimulate cutting-edge research and collaborations in the field. The Platform provides a unique and comprehensive knowledge base for sustainable and evidence-based management of our threatened freshwater ecosystems and the resources they provide.
It is currently funded by the MARS project.

Freshwater Information Platform

Paper about

A new paper is published about – an online tool that unifies, standardises and codifies more than 20,000 European freshwater organisms and their ecological preferences. The tool is considered a service for basic research, applied scientists, water managers or other stakeholders. It serves as base for bioassessment and monitoring.

Read abstract

First MARS paper

Hering D, et al, Managing aquatic ecosystems and water resources under multiple stress — An introduction to the MARS project, Sci Total Environ (2014),

Read abstract

Managing aquatic ecosystems and water resources under multiple stress — An introduction to the MARS project

Water resources globally are affected by a complex mixture of stressors resulting from a range of drivers, including urban and agricultural land use, hydropower generation and climate change. Understanding how stressors interfere and impact upon ecological status and ecosystem services is essential for developing effective River Basin Management Plans and shaping future environmental policy. This paper details the nature of these problems for Europe's water resources and the need to find solutions at a range of spatial scales. In terms of the latter, we describe the aims and approaches of the EU-funded project MARS (Managing Aquatic ecosystems and water Resources under multiple Stress) and the conceptual and analytical framework that it is adopting to provide this knowledge, understanding and tools needed to address multiple stressors. MARS is operating at three scales: At the water body scale, the mechanistic understanding of stressor interactions and their impact upon water resources, ecological status and ecosystem services will be examined through multi-factorial experiments and the analysis of long time-series. At the river basin scale, modelling and empirical approaches will be adopted to characterise relationships between multiple stressors and ecological responses, functions, services and water resources. The effects of future land use and mitigation scenarios in 16 European river basins will be assessed. At the European scale, large-scale spatial analysis will be carried out to identify the relationships amongst stress intensity, ecological status and service provision, with a special focus on large transboundary rivers, lakes and fish. The project will support managers and policy makers in the practical implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD), of related legislation and of the Blueprint to Safeguard Europe's Water Resources by advising the 3rd River Basin Management Planning cycle, the revision of the WFD and by developing new tools for diagnosing and predicting multiple stressors.

Freshwater Metadata Journal

You are invited to publish your already submitted metadata in this new journal!

The Freshwater Metadata Journal (FMJ) was created with the aim to easily publish freshwater related metadata and to bring about a change of perception regarding data publishing in the scientific community. After entering information about your specific dataset in the BioFresh metadatabase a fully automated process allows the publication in the Freshwater Metadata Journal and therefore helps you saving time. After a review process your article is assigned a digital objective identifier (DOI) and made accessible on the FMJ website (published FMJ articles). Your dataset information is then easily trace- and citeable like any other scientific article and will help you creating recognition for your work.

The first MARS deliverable is available. The document gives detailed information about our cooperation plans with other EU funded projects, describes the project communication strategy with stakeholders and water managers and gives an outlook for a comming online network/platform for freshwater research.

read more..

MARS members at kickoff
(click to enlarge)

For a whole week the MARS project has hosted its first meeting on the Spanish island of Mallorca, bringing together 100 scientists from 24 partner institutions in 17 countries. Over the course of four days (17 – 21 February), the cross-disciplinary team – including aquatic ecologists, hydrologists, chemists, economists, engineers and software developers – came together to discuss and plan MARS’ work for the next four years. In serveral sessions the tasks and workpackages were discussed in detail. The consortium agreed on the details of the experiments and next steps in the project's work plan. The meeting will help shape and design the tools for future water management that the project will produce.