Institute of Biochemistry and Biology
- Ecological station of the University of Potsdam
- Located 80 km to the west of Potsdam
- Train to Rathenow or Neustadt/Dosse, from there 25 km by bus or bicycle
- Accommodations: 4-bed or double rooms
- Bring your own sleeping bag and bed sheet
- Self-catering in kitchen, cutlery and dishes provided
- Laboratories, classrooms, living quarters and library
- Equipment for soil and vegetation studies, weather station
- Scientific Director: Prof. Dr. Jana Eccard
- Custos: Dr. Ralf-Udo Mühle
- Technical staff: Sieglinde Kraft, Matthias Schlüter
- Telephone: +49 (0) 33875 306 21, Fax: +49 (0) 33875/30752
- E-mail: email@example.com
Events and courses (under construction)
Projects at Ecological Station Gülpe (under construction)
Publications (under construction)
The Station - Ecological Research on the Lower Havel River
Since 1975, scientists from Potsdam have been conducting research and teaching on the grounds of former Hünemörderhof farm near the village of Gülpe on the Lower Havel River. With the aim of compiling observations at the eco-system level, ornithological studies done in the initial years were combined with later, interdisciplinary zoological and botanical studies. This provided the scientific basis for the identification of protected areas. As early as 1967, neighbouring Gülpe Lake was declared a nature conservation area because it hosts a wealth of different bird species. Intensive research on migratory birds and the significance of the lowlands of the Lower Havel as a resting ground for migrating shorebird and waterfowl species led to its designation as wetlands of international importance in 1979. An area of wet grassland and waterways approx. 6,000 hectares in size was declared a Ramsar Site and thus placed under the protection of a UNESCO convention. In the middle of the 1980s, nature conservation began to be increasingly institutionalised. This led to the Parey nature conservation station being set up in 1990. The interdisciplinary exploration of the multi-faceted flora and fauna in the lowlands and uplands of the Lower Havel was the main prerequisite for its designation as West Havelland Nature Park, which has an area of 1,315 km2 and is the largest protected area in the state of Brandenburg.
The ecological station underwent a comprehensive renovation in the past few years. The result is a modern research station that combines teaching and research opportunities in a highly dynamic landscape in an ideal manner. In the process, the research focus of the ecological station has changed. Past research efforts focussed on creating a solid basis of descriptive knowledge about the region. This is now being used as the basis for more quantitative, process-oriented research that can facilitate prognoses for future developments according to a variety of scenarios with different framework conditions.
Particularly in an era of global change, ecological research on a regional scale is very important. For example, how does global climate change impact regional and local areas? The first projects that consistently examine the impact of climate change on selected plant species in the region are being conducted here. What is the impact of policy changes such as the planned EU enlargement to the east on regional socio-economic and ecological systems? A research focus initially oriented to selected indicator species or endangered species is in the process of being created. These and similar issues also require a causal understanding of the complex systems of ecological interaction – on a smaller scale in particular. However, this requires a modern, interdisciplinary research approach that is equal to the special needs of malleable, changing conditions.
Despite the significance of the region-related ecological research outlined above, the results of this research must be considered within the context of international research and also evaluated as such. Research on the Lower Havel ‘sample region’ can be used to model similar regions in Central Europe, or at least deliver results to specific questions that can be used for generalisations. This applies to basic issues such as the question of the mechanisms of co-existence in biotopes with an abundance of species as well as related questions on how to develop useful protection concepts for the remaining population of endangered species that utilise ex-situ and in-situ preservation measures and avoid genetic homogeneity (projects in co-operation with Potsdam Botanical Garden). Direct bi-national or multi-national projects provide another option for international integration. One project of this type, based on the Lower Havel region and studying invasive plant species in the USA and Europe, is being conducted at the University of Potsdam at this time.
In addition to the research tasks outlined above, the modernised University of Potsdam ecological research station on the Lower Havel is also very important for teaching and the ecological education of students, who come from a variety of universities and other German institutions in addition to Potsdam. The station also concentrates on maintaining a close working relationship with regional interest groups and non-university institutions. Without them, useful ecological research on the region would not be possible.