Group Members


Gabriel Singer (head)

I am a stream and river ecosystem ecologist who doesn´t stop when the channel falls dry or the water stops flowing. To understand how rivers shape the global carbon cycle, one has to understand their linkages to the terrestrial landscape and appreciate the full diversity of habitats along the aquatic continuum. Riding their waves helps, too. My research is dedicated to fluvial organic matter dynamics and how it may be linked to aquatic biodiversity. I have a bit of an obsession with dissolved organic matter, but ecology is too interesting to not look outside the box at every chance. My fascination for fluvial ecology is married with a concern about what we may lose if we keep treating rivers as we do now.


Rubén del Campo González (postdoc)

I’m a freshwater ecologist interested in biogeochemistry and ecosystem functioning. During my PhD, I analysed how terrestrial-aquatic interactions control carbon cycling in intermittent rivers and arid streams. Currently, I study how biodiversity shapes organic matter processing across river networks.


Martin Dalvai Ragnoli (Ph.D. Student)

The focus of my current research is on Greenhouse-Gas Emissions from fluvial water bodies. I am focusing on the importance of various emission pathways and how flow alterations (e.g. by dams) influence the amount and type of GHG’s emissions. I joined the research group of Fluvial Ecosystem Ecology coming from an engineering background. I did my Masters in Chemical and Process Engineering at Graz University of Technology focusing on environmental technologies. In my master thesis I investigated the influence of biogas trace compounds on hydrogen production via Chemical Looping. Before joining the FLEE group in Innsbruck, I was member of a research group at TU Graz working on PEM Fuel Cells.


Elias Dechent (Lab Technician)

With my background in chemistry I work mainly in the water chemistry lab running analytical systems like the ion chromatography, photo spectroscopy, continuous flow analyzer and more. Currently I learn how to run a quadrupole-orbitrap mass spectrometer. Further tasks are taking care of our lab and safety requirements, supporting our group members with orders and other needs, training our apprentice and working out in the field.


Jessica Droujko (Ph.D. Student)

I am currently developing a low-cost, open-hardware turbidity sensor in order to obtain high spatial and temporal suspended sediment data in watersheds. I aim to measure the (dis)connectivity of sediment sources and sinks to the landscape and to different temporal events at the short- and long-term scale. My background is in mechanical engineering and previously, I was investigating thermoacoustic instabilities in gas turbines in both academia and industry. I am doing my PhD at ETH Zurich in partnership with UIBK.


Edurne Estévez Caño (postdoc)

I’m interested in fluvial ecosystem ecology, especially in understanding how food webs and ecosystem functioning are altered by climate change and human pressures such as land use change or hydrological alteration. During my phD at the University of Cantabria, I addressed the effects of land cover change on mountain stream energy flow pathways, food web size structure and composition and ecosystem multifunctionality. Currently, I investigate how land cover shapes (bio)diversity of both particulate organic matter (POM) and its consumers to understand ensuing implications for carbon cycling at the regional scale of river networks. I combine novel molecular methodologies to characterize (bio)diversity, field experimentation to measure POM degradation and river network-scale spatial modelling.


Thomas Fuß (Ph.D. Student)

I am interested in ecosystem functions, their ecological controls and how they are affected by human action. Specifically, I work in stream ecosystems and studied how land use in stream catchments controlled stream metabolism by shifting dissolved organic matter and nutrient regimes. In my PhD thesis, I aim at understanding the spatial distribution of the periphyton metacommunity in entire stream networks and how the interaction of the community with environmental conditions translates into the important ecosystem function primary production. Furthermore, I am a member of the EuroRun Project, the 1st Collaborative European Freshwater Science Project for Young Researchers. EuroRun aims at investigating CO2 fluxes from streams all over Europe by a team of European early career researchers.


Selin Kubilay (Ph.D. Student)

I'm studying the effect of flow alterations (natural or anthropogenic) on the match/mismatch scenarios of available DOM resources and microbial consumers. With this in mind, I focus on the compositional variability of DOM under different flow regimes and its effect on benthic microbial communities. See my project page for more information on what I do.


Jan Martini (Ph.D. Student)

I'm studying aquatic invertebrates in the near natural and hydromorphologically intact river ecosystem Vjosa, combining morphological and molecular methods. This river network is an ideal study site to study meta community patterns and keystone species like Prosopistoma pennigerum with regard to conservational issues.


Sophia Mützel (Lab Technician)

I am a master graduate in Biotechnology and a lab technician within the FLEE group. I support the group in field campaigns, sample analysis, general lab maintenance and organisation. I currently help developing a method for POM analysis using Fourier-Transformation Infrared Spectroscopy, which I used beforehand for my Master thesis to investigate Microplastics in Arctic- and European snow.


Clara Romero (Ph.D. Student)

My main research focuses on organic matter biogeochemistry, greenhouse gases dynamics and ecosystem functioning of urban aquatic ecosystems.


Hannah Siller

Hannah is joining us for an internship


Tania Sosa Jirón (Ph.D. Student)

I am a Limnologist, with a background in environmental engineering. I am interested in biogeochemistry and the role of microbes in fluvial ecosystems, particularly in the carbon cycle. The aim of my research is to investigate the effects of fragmentation on patterns of biodiversity (microbial diversity), resource diversity (DOM quality diversity) and resource use, through laboratory-based fluvial models.


Matthew Talluto (postdoc)

I'm a quantitative macroecologist. I develop statistical and mechanistic models operating at large spatial scales (from meta-ecosystems to global) that aim to better understand the links between biodiversity and the environment. More information is available on my personal page.


Lukas Thuile Bistarelli (Ph.D. Student)

I work on the link between bacterial community, the resources they consume and the functioning that results from the metabolization of those resources. And all of this at the scale of an entire river network. As the river network is the physical basis for all of the "entities" that I study, I also focus on their relationship to different spatial scales.


Sara Trojahn (Postdoc)

I am a biogeochemist focusing on understanding the key sources, sinks and feedbacks of organic matter along the land-river-atmosphere continuum in modern environments. During my PhD, I focused on the temporal and spatial variability of dissolved organic matter composition in Scottish rivers and headwaters and how different environmental and physical processes affect its quality and reactivity.



Frank Masese

Position in the group: Postdoctoral Fellow and cultural diversifier for 2 years

Current position: Senior Lecturer and Head, Department of Fisheries & Aquatic Science, University of Eldoret, Kenya

I am a community/ecosystem ecologist studying responses of aquatic ecosystems to terrestrial subsidies mediated by large mammalian herbivores. Straddling the terrestrial-aquatic domain I seek to understand how landscape variables shape aquatic ecosystem structure and functioning. This includes community composition and energy flow in riverine food webs, that are dominated by my favourite invertebrates, but made complete only by algae and fishes. Currently, I am developing a national biomonitoring protocol for Kenya - the Kenya Invertebrate Scoring System (KISS).


Betty Noriega Ortega (postdoc)

I was a postdoc working on characterising the diversity of dissolved organic matter in river networks. I'm interested on microbial diversity and it's role on the aquatic carbon cycle. I'm also a passionate science communicator and advocate for diversity and inclusion in academia.


Franziska Walther

Position in the group: Bachelor's thesis, research technician, everything-fixer

Current position: M.Sc. student, HU Berlin

As a student collaborator, I worked on the Greek-Albanian Vjosa River. Therefore, I analyzed the linkage between the river's hydrochemistry and its surrounding geology and land cover at catchment scale. Currently I am studying Global Change Geography (M.Sc.) at Humboldt-University Berlin focussing on human-environmental interactions.


Stephanie Shousha

Position in the group: Visiting scientist

Current position: Ph.D. Student, Université de Montréal

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