Large rivers are complex systems that are highly sensitive to changes in land use and climate. It is foreseen that climate change effects will cause severe modifications in fluvial systems and their surroundings, including discharge, transport of sediments, fertilizers and pollutants, groundwater availability and quality, ecosystem composition and resilience. However, the full long-term extent of these changes is unknown.
The complexity of the Rhine hydrosystem and its vulnerability to changes require further integrative research that would link all aspects related to the Upper Rhine river hydrosystem functioning. The Upper Rhine Valley, being at the meeting points of three countries, furthermore has a special cultural and symbolic dimension which renders the understanding of its hydrosystem dynamics and their sustainable management all the most important.
The 'Think Tank Rhine River Hydrosystems – Past, Present, Future' aimed to use the Rhine river as a common denominator to join expertise in various disciplines related to the Upper Rhine hydrosystem dynamics, from their past history to their future management, creating an innovative multi- and interdisciplinary cluster. In particular, it aimed to connect the wide range of expertise available in the land of Baden-Württemberg, as well as exchange ideas with colleagues with complementary knowledge from other universities around the Upper Rhine. The ultimate goal was the development of joint research proposals. An additional goal to be explored was the creation of a tri-national master programme centered on the sustainability of Upper Rhine fluvial environments.
The think tank was coordinated by Dr. Claire Rambeau and Sebastian Brackhane (Sedimentary Geology and Quaternary Research and Chair of Remote Sensing and Landscape Information Systems, University of Freiburg) and created in the context of the Upper Rhine Cluster for Sustainability Research (URCforSR). Furthermore, scientists from the University of Heidelberg, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the University of Strasbourg were involved.
Origin of photo: https://pixabay.com/de/luftbild-drohne-quadcopter-kamera-1612921/