Conservation of dragonflies and damselflies at urban streams

Project description

The biodiversity associated with freshwater habitats has declined sharply in recent decades due to urban stressors such as the straightening and canalization of waterways and the surface sealing in surrounding areas. This is one of the reasons why the United Nations has proclaimed the Decade of Ecosystem Restoration. Improvements in habitat quality at aquatic-terrestrial interfaces could particularly benefit organisms with complex life cycles, including dragonflies and damselflies (hereafter collectively referred to as Odonata).
Through larval development in water and adult life on land, Odonata are affected by urbanization impacts on both the aquatic environment and the surrounding landscape. Despite their protection status under the Flora-Fauna-Habitat Directive and the Federal Nature Conservation Act, only 54 % of the 81 Odonata species occurring in Germany are classified as "not threatened" on the German Red List. Thereby, knowledge of the main threats to Odonata - aquatic and terrestrial habitat quality - is still incomplete.
The project will investigate the interaction of aquatic and terrestrial habitat quality for the conservation of Odonata in urban watercourses. The focus will be on (1) biodiversity and reproductive success, (2) trophic interactions and (3) population dynamics of Odonata communities. The aim is to develop recommendations on how locally adapted restoration measures can contribute to the protection of stable and diverse Odonata communities - especially in areas with highly volatile environmental conditions such as cities.

Participating researchers in Landau




Doctoral scholarship program of the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU)


Eußerthal Ecosystem Research Station (EERES)


urban ecology; freshwater restoration; Odonata; biodiversity; conservation