Modelling the consequences of climate change and neobiota for Lake Constance

As one of the largest Alpine lakes, Lake Constance is a unique cross-border ecosystem between Germany, Austria and Switzerland and provides important ecosystem services to the population in the catchment area and far beyond. Lake Constance is of central importance as a drinking water reservoir as well as for the economy, fishing, tourism, leisure sector, the use of thermal energy, nature conservation and the cross-border labour market in the region.

According to current findings, the Lake Constance region will be disproportionately affected by climate change. A quantification of the effects on Lake Constance is therefore necessary due to the extensive use of Lake Constance as a drinking water reservoir and as a central element for the tourism and economic region. Maintaining good ecological and chemical status is the top priority for the Lake Constance region.

In addition, the Lake Constance ecosystem is struggling with the consequences of invasive species (especially stickleback and quagga mussels), which are severely affecting the lake and many of its uses. Due to ongoing climate change, which is developing faster than predicted, and due to new disturbance factors (pollutant inputs, invasive species), there is an urgent need to improve the existing models for Lake Constance and link them to current climate predictions.

This enables updated predictions of the consequences of climate change, including the effects of invasive species, on the Lake Constance ecosystem and its sustainable use. As a result, statements can be developed on possible, targeted adaptation measures and strategies for sustainable management and protection of Lake Constance for existing and future use.

The models developed are widely applicable and the wealth of knowledge from Lake Constance can therefore also benefit other pre-alpine lakes in the Alpine region. The findings will contribute directly to taking more efficient measures to protect biodiversity and the functioning of these lake ecosystems and thus the quality of life in the respective regions.

SeeWandel-Climate officially started in July 2023, with a duration of 3 years and 6 months (until the end of 2026). SeeWandel-Climate receives support from Interreg and the international Lake Constance commissions: International Commission of Lake Constance Water Conservation (Internationale Gewässerschutzkommission für den Bodensee, IGKB) and International Lake Constance Fishery Commission (Internationale Bevollmächtigtenkonferenz für die Bodenseefischerei, IBKF).


  • SP 1: Past climate changes in Lake Constance – lessons for the future
    Sub-project team: Dr. Matthias Heckmann, Dr. Martin Wessels & Dr. Harald Hetzenauer
    Institute for Lake Research (Institut für Seenforschung, ISF) of the State Agency for Environment Baden-Wuerttemberg (Landesanstalt für Umwelt Baden-Württemberg, LUBW), Germany
  • SP 2: Consequences of climate change-induced phenological decoupling in the Lake Constance food web
    Sub-project team: Barnaby Roberts, PD Dr. Alexander Brinker & Dr. Jan Baer
    Fisheries Research Station Baden-Wuerttemberg (Fischereiforschungsstelle Langenargen, FFS) of the Agricultural Centre Baden-Wuerttemberg (Landwirtschaftlichen Zentrum Baden-Württemberg, LAZBW), Germany
  • SP 3A: Influence of warmer winters and neozoa on plankton phenology and food web interactions in Lake Constance plankton
    Sub-project team: Dr. Luca Schenone & PD Dr. Dietmar Straile
    University of Konstanz, Department of Biology – Limnological Institute, Germany
  • SP 3B: Climate impact assessment for the shallow water biocoenoses of Lake Constance
    Sub-project team: Dr. Almut Hanselmann & PD Dr. Dietmar Straile
    University of Konstanz, Department of Biology – Limnological Institute, Germany
  • SP 4: Water flea community in climate change – eco-evolutionary effects and consequences
    Sub-project team: Dr. Tim Maes & Prof. Dr. Markus Möst
    University of Innsbruck, Research Department for Limnology, Mondsee, Austria
  • SP 5: Forecast of climate-induced changes in hydrodynamics and water quality in Lake Constance
    Sub-project team: Dr.-Ing. Ulrich Lang, Dipl.-Ing. Stefan Mirbach, M.Sc. Irina Weber & Dipl.-Ing. M.Sc. Armin Durach
    Engineering Company Prof. Kobus and Partner (Ingenieurgesellschaft Prof. Kobus und Partner GmbH, kup), Germany
  • SP 6A: How will the invasive Quagga mussels develop in a changing lake?
    Sub-project team: Dr. Joana Santos, Dr. Alexandra Anh-Thu Weber & PD Dr. Piet Spaak
    Eawag – Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Department Aquatic Ecology, Switzerland
  • SP 6B: How do climate change and nutrient fluctuations interact to affect plankton ecological interactions and ecosystem stability in Lake Constance?
    Sub-project management: PD Dr. Francesco Pomati
    Eawag – Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Department Aquatic Ecology, Switzerland
  • SP 6C: One-dimensional modelling of the consequences of climate change and invasion of the quagga mussel for the Lake Constance ecosystem
    Sub-project team: Dr. Bo Gai, Dr. Martin Schmid & Prof. Dr. Damien Bouffard
    Eawag – Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Department Surface Waters Research & Management, Switzerland

Ueberlandstrasse 133
8600 Duebendorf, Switzerland

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