Subproject 2


Stable Isotopes - Indicators of altered flow conditions and biological turnover in hyporheic zones

One critical factor for anticipated "good conditions" of waterbodies is the amount of dissolved oxygen. In this subproject, we investigate climate-related shifts of oxygen in streams to characterize ecological states. Based on these results, recommendations for protection of streams will help to establish a more “positive chemistry” in surface waters. A new measurement method in this subproject will apply stable isotope ratios of dissolved oxygen. It offers new opportunities to determine its pathways in the water column, in sediments and in associated ground waters. These investigations help to answer the following questions:


  • Where does this vital element originate from - photosynthesis or atmosphere?
  • How is oxygen consumed - by bacterial respiration or via precipitation into iron-containing minerals?


Stable isotope investigations can also apply to other elements such as carbon. Such expansions help to better understand interconnections in carbon and oxygen cycles in water compartments including pore- and ground waters. The Applied Geology group of the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg is one of the few laboratories that offers combined isotope measurements of oxygen and carbon in aqueous cycles and thus supplies new tools of investigation in aqueous research.

Principal investigator: 

Prof. Johannes Barth, Ph. D.

Chair of Applied Geology

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

Schlossgarten 5

91054 Erlangen

Tel: +49 9131 85 22620