Research projects

Our research focusses on the mechanisms of cellular, subcellular and physiological responses of invertebrates and fish to anthropogenic and natural stress factors in their environments, and on the ecological, ecotoxicological and evolutionary implications of these mechanisms.


Current research

  • EOFplus: In the Baden-Baden and Rastatt regions, both Baden-Württemberg, Germany, about 470 hectares of agricultural land and, partially, ground water have been contaminated with  per- and polyfluorinated chemicals (PFC). However, per- and polyfluorinated compounds other than PFOA ans PFOS are poorly characterized regarding their toxicity. This project aims at compiling existing knowledge, at outlining knowledge gaps, and at suggesting threshold data for human consumption for a number of these compounds whenever possible.
    H-R Köhler, R Triebskorn, C Lorenz
  • MiWa: In dem vom Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung geförderten Verbundprojekt „MiWa“ (Mikroplastik im Wasserkreislauf; Förderkennzeichen: 02WRS1378) sollen Probenahmetechniken und Verfahren zur Analyse von Mikroplastik in limnischen Ökosystemen optimiert und vereinheitlicht werden. Zudem werden Effekte von Mikroplastik auf Vertebraten, Invertebraten und Zellkultursysteme untersucht (
    R Triebskorn, S Krais und H Schmieg
  • Effect-Net: The project Effect-Net (Effect Network in Water Research) will investigate the effects of highly consumed chemicals for lifestyle diseases in aquatic ecosystems. Effect-Net is one of the three projects funded by the  Wassernetzwerk Baden-Württemberg.
    R Triebskorn, S Jacob, M Ziegler
  • NiddaMan: The project NiddaMan, funded by BMBF, aims at developing a management plan for the catchment area of the River Nidda, a tributary to river Main, Southern Hesse. In view to accomplish sustainable water protection in this region, an interdisciplinary consortium of scientists and stakeholders share their experience in this regional water resource management project which focuses on the Nidda catchment as a model region.
    H-R Köhler, R Triebskorn, A Dieterich, M Schweizer
  • The Hot Snail Project: Mechanisms of heat tolerance in Mediterranean land snails and implications on phenotypic variance. DFG projects KO 1978/5-1 and KO 1978/5-3. In association with the Twinning Project: Thermal flows, thermodynamics, and ecophysiological consequences of high temperature in Mediterranean land snails, Tübingen University.
    H-R Köhler, R Triebskorn, A Scheil, M Di Lellis, S Troschinski, A Dieterich, M Ludwig, U Fischbach S Hilsmann in collaboration with Y Capowiez, C Mazzia, M Rault (U Avignon / INRA, France), U Gärtner, S Rösler, J Kraut, T Lang, K Gerster (Esslingen University of Applied Sciences), T Wilke, S Sereda (University of Giessen), D Wharam (Dept Physics U Tübingen) and T Knigge, T Monsinjon, A Picot (Université du Havre)
  • EXPAND: In the environment, toxic compounds may interact with nanoparticles which will modify bioavailability and toxicity of these chemicals. Furthermore, mixture toxiocity may be exerted even without abiotic interactions of soluble chemicals and nanoparticles. The mini-graduate school EXPAND comprises expertise of geoscientists, biologists, and chemists and addresses possible interactions of toxic organic chemicals with nanoparticles and investigates effects on cyanobacteria, fungi, and insects.
    H-R Köhler, C Lorenz, L Jäger in collaboration with the groups of S Haderlein, R Anwander, K Forchhammer, S Dietz, R Hampp, C Huhn, and C Zwiener
  • Morphological variation in organisms including epigenetically induced body plan modifications in gastropods: Turning snails into slugs. In association with the "Mini-Grad School" Morphological variability of organisms exposed to environmental stress in past and present time.
    H-R Köhler, L Marschner, R Triebskorn, S Schwarz, L Sommer (in collaboration with O Betz, Tübingen; B Sures, Essen; P Cloetens, Grenoble, France)
  • Biomarker and biotest application in the field and lab. Impact assessment of environmental chemicals: Daphnia test, Danio sediment toxicity test, DarT, histopathology, stress protein induction, immunotoxicity, behaviour.
    R Triebskorn, H-R Köhler, V Scheil, K Vincze, T Haap, K Bader, A Henneberg, D Maier, K Peschke, P Thellmann, L Hanslik, S Kindermann, M Langjahr, S Wolf, K Graf, A Scheil, H-R Köhler, R Triebskorn, M Langer-Jaesrich, , in collaboration with numerous colleagues (e.g. Y Capowiez, U Avignon, France; A Hallare, U Philippines, Manila; H Abdel-Latif, U Alexandria, Egypt / U Makkah, Saudi-Arabia)
  • Effects of pharmaceuticals in fish. (collaboration with the Steinbeis-Transfer Center for Ecotoxicology and Ecophysiology Rottenburg and J Schwaiger (Bavarian State Agency for the Environment, Wielenbach, Germany))
    R Triebskorn, V Scheil
  • The biology and genetic diversity of bats as a requisite for conservation strategies.
    K Wallmeyer, E Müller
  • Implementation of ecotoxicological theories in practical application (collaboration with the Steinbeis-Transfer Center for Ecotoxicology and Ecophysiology Rottenburg).
    R Triebskorn


Main past projects (since 2000)

  • Eff-Pharm: The project Eff-Pharm aims to establish new, effect-based monitoring tools for pharmaceuticals in the aquatic environment. In this project, funded by the "Umweltbundesamt" (German Environment Agency), in vitro-systems that react to specific pharmaceutical classes are to be developed. The effects visible in these in vitro-systems are compared to effects in fish , gammarids and annelids in vivo.
    R Triebskorn, S Schwarz, H Schmieg, H-R Köhler
  • SchussenAktivplus: The project focuses on technologies capable to reduce the release of micropollutants and potentially pathogenic bacteria into surface waters via sewage treatment plants of different size and via rain overflow basins of different types. As a model river in a highly populated catchment area, the river Schussen and, as a control, the river Argen, two tributaries of Lake Constance, are under investigation in this project. The efficiency of different cleaning technologies will be monitored by a wide range of exposure and effect analyses including chemical and microbiological techniques as well as effect studies ranging from molecules to communities.
    R Triebskorn, R Osterauer, H-R Köhler, A Henneberg, D Maier, K Peschke, P Thellmann, L Hanslik, S Kindermann, M Lucht, B Sawasdee, S Krais, K Vincze
  • SchussenAktiv: Im Sinne einer "Vorher-Nachher-Studie" wird im Rahmen des Projektes die Effizienz des Ausbaus einer Kläranlage (Kläranlage Langwiese, AZV Mariatal bei Ravensburg) mit einer Aktivkohlestufe hinsichtlich ökotoxikologischer Effekte bei aquatischen Organismen im zugehörigen Vorfluter (Schussen dokumentiert. Der geplante Ausbau der Kläranlage Langwiese bietet die einmalige Möglichkeit, die Auswirkungen einer solchen Maßnahme durch Freilandstudien zu begleiten. Durch die Kombination von biologischen Effektstudien und chemischen Analysen in einem zeitlichen (vor und nach Kläranlagenausbau) und räumlichen (Probestellen vor und nach der Kläranlage) Gradienten wird gewährleistet sein, Ursachen und Wirkungen bei exponierten Organismen miteinander in Verbindungen zu bringen, und den Erfolg des Kläranlagenausbaus zu verfolgen und zu dokumentieren. Durch den Vergleich der Effekte im zeitlichen Gradienten mit einem Kontrollgewässer (Argen) kann überprüft werden, inwieweit sich die Wasserqualität der von der Kläranlage beeinflussten Schussen durch die erfolgte Maßnahme nach zwei Jahren derjenigen des Kontrollgewässers Argen angeglichen hat.
    R TriebskornA Henneberg, D Maier, K Peschke, P Thellmann, L Hanslik, S Kindermann
  • Novel Methods for Integrated Risk Assessment of Cumulative Stressors in Europe (NOMIRACLE). EU-FP6 Integrated Project 003956. 2004-2009. Testing the impact of chemicals and chemical mixtures in combination with natural abiotic stressors on development, behaviour, organ integrity and stress protein induction in early life stages of the zebrafish, Danio rerio.
    H-R Köhler, R Triebskorn, V Scheil, C Kienle, M Langer, R Osterauer, in collaboration with A Gerhardt (LimCo International) and numerous European partners, co-ordinated by H. Løkke (NERI Silkeborg, Denmark)
  • VALIMAR - VALIdation of bioMARkers for the assessment of small stream pollution (financed by BMBF Bonn, contribution by LB-BW Stuttgart, UFZ Leipzig). Until 2000, published in 2001 in J. Aquat. Ecosyst. Stress Recov. 8 (3/4), Triebskorn & Köhler (guest eds.), double special issue.
    R Triebskorn (co-ordinator) and colleagues
  • Selection of tolerance in soil invertebrates following long-term contamination (financed by the German Research Council DFG Bonn, Ko1978/2). Until 2002.
    H-R Köhler, T Knigge
  • XehoGamm - Endocrine effects of xeno-hormones in Gammarids (financed by the German Federal Environmental Agency UBA Berlin).
    R Triebskorn, H-R Köhler, M Schirling, co-ordinated by R Nagel (TU Dresden)
  • Monitoring pollution in Danube catchment streams.
    H-R Köhler, R Triebskorn, V Scheil, in collaboration with C Sandu (Romanian Academy, Bucharest) and colleagues, J Bloesch (EAWAG Dübendorf, Switzerland), H Segner (U Berne, Switzerland), and K Wegmann (UVG Arad, Romania)
  • Endocrine disruption in crustaceans and snails. Induction of intersex and molecular work on the presence of estrogen receptor-like proteins.
    E. Mazurova, C Harvey, H-R Köhler, R Triebskorn, in collaboration with G Schönfelder (Charité Berlin, Germany)