Klement Tockner

Klement Tockner

Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology & Inland Fisheries (IGB) & President, Austrian Science Fund (FWF)

Klement Tockner studied zoology and botany at the University of Vienna, where he received his PhD in 1993 with a dissertation on the ecology of the shores of the Austrian Danube. From 1993 to 1994 he worked as water management advisor in Rwanda and Uganda. He then returned to the University of Vienna as a postdoctoral fellow.

In 1996, he moved to ETH Zurich as a senior assistant, where he was appointed titular professor in 2005. From 1997 to 2007 he headed a research group on freshwater biodiversity and wetland ecology at the Federal Institute for Water Supply, Wastewater Treatment and Water Protection (EAWAG). In 2002 he was a JSPS Fellow at Tohoku University (Japan), and in 2004/05 he was a visiting scholar at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York. In 2007, he became director of the Leibniz Institute for Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries in Berlin and professor for aquatic ecology at the Freie Universität Berlin. In May 2016, Klement Tockner was elected as president of the Austrian Science Fund FWF for a four years term (renewable).

He has special expertise in freshwater biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and river and wetland management. He is Co-Editor of the journal Aquatic Sciences and Subject Editor of the journal Ecosystems. He has published more than 200 scientific papers including 120 ISI papers. In 2009, he edited a comprehensive book on European Rivers (Rivers of Europe, Elsevier). Klement Tockner has successfully managed large inter- and transdisciplinary projects (e.g. EC-funded project BioFresh). He is member of several scientific committees and advisory boards including the National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES, Japan). He is elected member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the German Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina).


The keynote talk by Klement Tockner will be on Tuesday, Sept. 10th at the auditorium TÜWI

An engineered water future?

We most likely are just at the beginning of the “great acceleration” of the Anthropocene and therefore underestimate the immense environmental alterations we will face in the near future, in particular in the water sector. For example, humans re-engineer the global hydrological network through the construction of large dams, water transfer megaprojects, and other engineering projects. However, many engineering projects–in particular so-called megaprojects–are high-risk projects because they require major financial investments, demand long time frames from planning to completion, and have major socio-economic and ecological ramifications. Hence, we need internationally agreed criteria to assess the ecological, social and economic impacts of megaprojects; and freshwaters need to be managed as hybrid systems, i.e. as a resource for human use as well as extremely valuable ecosystems.

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