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Anthropogenic influences such as construction, area use and pollution discharge lead to changes in aquatic ecosystems. Fish are also affected, both at species level via the population dynamics and by impacts to diversity and evenness at the community level. Commercial fishing with its significant by-catch is having an especially extensive impact on fish communities and their populations.

To capture these anthropogenically induced changes as well as the natural influences, IfAÖ’s ichthyology department examines selected ecological parameters of the fish communities in the affected areas. Using various fishing methods, samples are collected and analyzed with modern statistical software. As a result, trends and ecological risks for fish populations in marine and freshwater ecosystems can be derived.

Monitoring of fish communities in marine and limnic ecosystems

  • Inventory and assessment of fish communities in the North and Baltic seas
  • Identification of the structure of fish communities, depending on the prevailing biotic (food web) and abiotic factors (hydrographic, habitats)
  • Inventory and assessment of fish communities in lacustrine systems (EU-WFD)
  • Specialized reports and planning as well as efficiency controls for fish patency in German river systems with respect to the EU WFD
  • Description of seasonal and inter-annual changes of different species depending on environmental conditions and anthropogenic disturbances
  • Description and evaluation of fishery activities in aquatic ecosystems, especially in the context of multi-use marine areas by offshore wind farms, cable lines, military exercise areas, gravel mining, protected areas and maritime transport


  • Studies of fish communities in a scientific context, in particular with respect to fisheries biology and fish ecology as well as population dynamics of the food web, and the influence of harmful substances or cooling water discharge from power plants into a natural environment
  • Studies of fish communities in a scientific context
  • Description and evaluation of fisheries in the North and Baltic Seas