Spring School 'Human impact on the Tidal Elbe'


KüNO Spring School

Human impact on the Tidal Elbe - Ecology, conservation, prediction & adaption

20 - 25 March, 2022

in Lauenburg (Elbe)


Participants KüNO Spring School 2022 in Lauenburg (Elbe)
At the end of March, 19 young scientists met in Lauenburg (Elbe) to spend a week studying the many aspects of the Tidal Elbe. In excursions, exercises and discussions, the participants learned how climate change and pressure of use influence the ecology, nature and flood protection as well as the perception of the population. Practical insights into laboratory work and modeling of future scenarios complemented the content. Two professional communication trainers gave valuable tricks and tips on how to present complex scientific topics in an interesting way. The topic of career opportunities was also not neglected. Here, invited speakers presented their paths and encouraged participants to think about their own goals. But everyone particularly enjoyed the intensive time of personal exchange.
The Spring School was organized by the KüNO umbrella project. Participants were young scientists from the KüNO network and related projects.


Programme description

The excursion ‘Nature conservation’ took us to the nature reserve ‘Hohes Elbufer’. Heike Kramer from the NABU Geesthacht and Hannes Koopmann, the local forester, introduced the habitat of many animals and plants during a hike. They gave an overview about conflicts between protection and use at the Elbe and the activities to protect the nature in this region.

Andreas Schöl from the German Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG) gave a lecture about ‘Water quality assessment’. After an introduction into water quality simulation in the Elbe and a fish habitat model, the young scientists could try out the fish habitat application for themselves.

The experimental course ‘Ecology of the Tidal Elbe’ was held at the Helmholtz Centre Hereon in Geesthacht by Kirstin Dähnke, Tina Sanders and Gesa Schulz. The participants analysed water samples of the Elbe for nutrients and nitrogene isotopes.

During the full-day workshop ‘Scientific presentation & communication’, the science communicator Julia Offe and the acting coach Andreas Laurenz Maier trained how to present complex topics in an understandable way. The young scientists learned helpful presentation methods and practiced implementing what was learned in groups.

Moritz Mathis from Hereon gave a lecture on ‘Climate prediction modeling’ and teached the participants in interpreting model results and uncertainties. In hand-on exercises the participants learned to carry out a simulation of the North Sea.

With Clais von Mirbach from the Hamburg State Office for Roads, Bridges and Waters (LSBG) the young researchers visited ‘Flood protection systems’ in the city of Hamburg and got an insight into planning and implementation of constructional adaptions to climate change.

Jürgen Schaper from Hereon addressed the 'Societal impact on the Tidal Elbe - perceptions and politics'. With a combination of lecture and interactive exercises, participants explored the perceptions of the river as natural environment, economic region and ecosystem service from the perspective of the population.

To foster interdisciplinary collaboration, the young scientists played the game ‘COLLAB’ that enables a playful exchange about disciplinary principles. With talks about careers in the coastal field, the broad range of possibilities was introduced. Representatives from a wide variety of career paths have been invited and answered questions.


  Some impressions of the KüNO Spring School: