Innovation Center Prof. Dr. rer. nat. habil. Thomas Ulrich Berendonk

Aquatic Ecology and Molecular Environmental Analysis

The Innovation Center Aquatic Ecology and Molecular Environmental Analysis focuses on biodiversity, the ecology and evolution of organisms, the effects of anthropogenic stressors, and the interactions between organisms and aquatic functions. Taking into account current problem areas such as climate change or antibiotic resistance, the Innovation Center researches various aspects of aquatic communities and their relationships to the abiotic environment.

portait of Prof. Dr. rer. nat. habil. Thomas U. Berendonk


Prof. Dr. rer. nat. habil. Thomas Ulrich Berendonk

Dresden University of Technology
Faculty of Environmental Sciences/ Department of Hydrosciences
Institute for Hydrobiology
Professorship of Limnology (aquatic ecology)
Zellescherweg 40
01217 Dresden

Short Vita

Professional background:

  • Since 2009: Professor of Limnology at the Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Dresden University of Technology
  • 2007: Habilitation in Zoology: "Analyses of historical and recent ecological processes and their influence on genetic species diversity".
  • 2003 - 2008: Scientific assistant at the Zoological Institute (Biology II) at the University of Leipzig
  • 2002 - 2003: Postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford. Development of a subtractive library for Aedes albopictus. This involved the use of modern molecular genetic techniques such as PCR, DNA genotyping, DNA enrichment, cloning and sequencing.
  • 2000 - 2002: Research Associate (as Postdoc.) at the NERC Centre for Population Biology, Silwood Park, Imperial College London, Ascot. Development of microsatellite markers for six Chaoborus species. In addition, intensive study work in statistical analysis of ecological data (with Prof. Dr. M. J. Crawley).
  • 1999 - 2000: Research associate (as postdoc.) at the Natural History Museum, London. Work on combining population structure and speciation.
  • 1998: Doctorate at the Max-Planck-Institute Plön, topic of the thesis: "Chaoborus as a model organism for the comparison of metapopulations and permanent populations".
  • 1995: Master's degree (Diplom) at the Max Planck Institute Plön, Germany, topic: "The influence of kairomones on feeding and dispersal in Chaoborus."

Research and development

  • Influence of ecological and evolutionary processes on genetic and eco-physiological diversity in aquatic systems.
  • Aquatic ecotoxicology - impact analysis and risk assessment of environmental chemicals.
  • Structure and function of lake and reservoir ecosystems and their management, especially under the influence of climate change.
  • Interactions between biological colonization and stream function.
  • Mathematical models for water quality management and hypothesis testing.
  • Variability and evolution of antibiotic resistance in the environment.


  • Use of various methods of taxonomy, population genetics and ecology, (meta-) genomics and experimental evolution.
  • Use of conventional and modern methods to research the environmental hazards of chemicals.
  • Exploring the effects of climate change on thermal structure and organism interactions.
  • accompanying investigations as well as evaluation of water development measures, derivation of adapted management options and water quality investigations
  • Development of own model approaches and use of already existing models for statistical and mechanistic representation and simulation of hydrobiological systems
    Detection and quantification of antibiotic resistance genes in environmental samples using both cultivation and culture-independent methods.
  • Investigations of changes in genetic dynamics within a species caused by anthropogenic drivers such as climate change (for fish: use of non-invasive DNA sampling).
  • hydrobiological laboratory
  • molecular biology laboratories
  • Stream simulation facility
  • Environmental education and knowledge transfer

Reference projects

  • Recording and documentation of various fish stocks in Germany
  • Measurements of multiresistant bacteria and resistance genes in wastewater
  • Implementation of pilot measures for stock support and reintroduction of populations of large mussel species.
  • Documentation measures on the genetic diversity of various fish species in Germany -> including "Recording and documentation of the genetic diversity of grayling (Thymallus thymallus) in Germany."
  • Measurements of multiresistant bacteria and resistance genes in wastewater
  • Implementation of pilot measures to support the population and reintroduction of the large mussel species: river pearl mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera) and painted mussel (Unio pictorum).
  • Influence of climate warming on the physical structure of German drinking water reservoirs.
  • Influence of fish stocking and removal on fish species composition and water quality of selected standing waters in Saxony.
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