Newsletter - February 2022

    The .pdf version of the 2nd newsletter is available here.

    Newsletter n°2 – Sampling campaigns in DRYvER

    DRYvER is a research & innovation project funded by Horizon 2020 focusing on drying rivers and the impact of climate change. The 4-years project started in September 2020 and brings together 25 partners from 16 countries in Europe and South America as well as from China and the USA. Its main goals are to collect, analyze and model data from 9 drying river networks (DRN) in Europe and South America to create a novel global meta-system approach that incorporates hydrology, socio-economics, ecology and biogeochemistry in order to craft strategies, tools and recommendations for adaptive management of river networks.

  • DRYvER activities since July 2021: first reports are available!

    First papers are out

    The first papers related to DRYvER’s work have been published and are accessible via the links below:

    First reports are submitted

    DRYvER already submitted three technical reports:

    • D1.1 - Report on flow intermittence indicators. This report presents the current state of the development of flow intermittence indicators obtained through an assessment of needs from the DRYvER working groups as well as preliminary data analysis and setups of hydrological models. These indicators will also help to develop better management of rivers in order to adapt and/or mitigate for increasing river network drying.
    • D2.1 - Report on the beta version of the dynamic metacommunity model. This report presents the beta version of the metacommunity model developed in WP2 to investigate biodiversity dynamics in drying river networks.
    • D5.1 - Stakeholder mapping. This deliverable provides general and Case Study specific recommendations for further stakeholder engagement, as well as recommendations for the Stakeholder Committee, the citizen science activities, and the policy activities, e.g., at the EU level.

    These reports will be available on the DRYvER website (

  • First call for interest for Short-Term Scientific Missions is open!

    DRYvER aims to promote a new generation of researchers working on drying rivers. The first call for interest for Short-Term Scientific Missions (STSM) will support this goal. It will fund short mobility for young researchers (MSc, PhD & PostDoc) to perform activities related to DRYvER.

    With the help of STSMs young researchers will visit DRYvER’s partner institutions to benefit from the host’s different technologies, analytical skills, knowledge/expertise, and methods, which are not available at their home institution. STSMs also aim to foster and facilitate collaborations within DRYvER’s partner institutions, by promoting mutual benefit towards joint publications and developing follow-up research proposals.

    The first call for DRYvER STSM is open between 07 February 2022 and 14 March 2022. In order to be the safest from COVID point of view, the first call would support STSMs planned in the summer period, i.e., between 01 June 2022 and 30 September 2022.

    Important deadline for sending all application documents: 14 March 2022, 24:00 (UTC). The DRYvER Steering Committee and the leaders of the Forum of Young Researchers (FYR) will evaluate the applications and will notify the applicants of the results until 04 April 2022, 24:00 (UTC). Last day for the implementation of the STSMs in the first call: 30 September 2022.

    For more information and application, please visit

  • Sampling campaigns and field activities – interview with Rubén del Campo

    Sampling campaigns and field activities

    One of the main goal of DRYvER is to collect and analyze data from 9 drying river networks (DRN) to create a novel global meta-system approach

    The first 1.5 year of the project has been dedicated to intensive sampling campaigns in all DRNs:

    • 429 days were spent in the field
    • 966 samples of macroinvertebrate
    • 1 676 DNA samples
    • 229 samples of fish and biomass

    The sampling campaign will end during the first quarter of 2022, with the last trip planned in March 2022 in Brazil.

    Interview with Rubén del Campo

    Rubén del Campo tells us more about the sampling and challenges faced by DRYvER teams

    Question: Could you introduce yourself and your role in the DRyVER project?

    Rubén del Campo: I am a PostDoc researcher working in the University of Innsbruck as a freshwater ecologist focusing on how organic matter is processed and decomposed in rivers. I have a double interest in this topic: my PhD was already on how intermittent rivers affect organic matter decomposition and processing. Since DRYvER, I am also trying to understand how flow intermittency affects large areas, considering the whole river network.

    The University of Innsbruck is in charge of the WP on ecosystem functions. I am responsible for one specific function that is related to organic matter but also to decomposition and chemical characterization of the organic models standing stocks. As a PostDoc in the project, I am in charge of coordinating those functions related to organic matter in all the European case studies. I also help the other partners, notably in South America and Central America, to carry out their work in the WP3.

    Q: What is the objective of field activities you performed in DRYvER?

    RC: The objective of the field campaigns is to visit drying river networks three times along the year to sample and measure the various functions. In 2021, DRYvER performed sampling in the six European river networks studied in DRYvER. Our team worked on two river networks: the Bükkösdi-viz network in Hungary and the Krka network in Croatia. In each country, we sampled 20 sites in rivers that are part of a single river network.

    Each case study has a different flow regime and different spatial driving patterns. We want to understand how these differences impact organic matter dynamics at the river network scale.

    From left to right : Bálint Pernecker (UP), Rubén del Campo, Hanna Pankaczi (UP), Edurne Estévez (UIBK). 

    Q: How did the field activities go ?

    RC: The field campaigns went well. Sampling was quite demanding and took a lot of time but the support from colleagues from the University of Innsbruck and local partners helped a lot!

    In general, we are really happy with the results. It was my first time working in Hungary and Croatia, with rivers very different from what I am used to, and it was a great opportunity to learn more about river ecology in general but also intermittent rivers. These river networks have different climates, geologies, etc which creates different hydrology patterns and therefore different behaviors and different functions.

    Left: Greenhouse Gas Analyzer Figure. Right: Rubén del Campo and Edurne Estévez (UIBK) during field activities.

    Q: Did you face any difficulty? Was Covid-19 an issue for your activities?

    RC: We were quite worried about the pandemic at first but we have been really lucky because we were able to drive from Austria to Hungary and Croatia.

    Yet, there are always challenges during fieldwork. The main one is linked to the specificities of intermittent rivers. They are really unpredictable sometimes because of the weather changes and because of climate change impact. 2021 was a very dry year, with very low flows. During the last sampling campaigns, we were trying to catch the rivers once the flow returns. In some cases, this was impossible: some rivers that were dry in the summer were still not flowing at the beginning of winter because of lack of rain.

    Q: What are the next steps once the sampling campaign is over?

    RC: The lab work is now starting and we still have a long year of laboratory analyses ahead of us before we get any results. We now have three objectives: 1) knowing how much organic matter is accumulated in the rivers, 2) analyzing the chemical composition and diversity of the standing stocks by measuring organic matter, chemical composition and diversity by various methods and 3) understanding decomposition rates of those standing stocks

    By the end of the year, we will have a very good dataset about all aspects that are important to understand organic matter dynamics and of carbon cycling in rivers.

  • Case study presentation – focus on Croatia

    DRYvER studies 9 case studies (DRN) in the EU and South America which cover different climatic and biogeographical zones. Focus on the Croatian case study.

    DRN presentation

    The Croatian DRN is the Butižnica river network which is a part of Krka catchment, in the Balkanic ecoregion, with a mix of humid subtropical and hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Koppen Cfa and Csa). In this region, most rivers are already drying and impacted by climate change.

    DRYvER studies two main rivers with their tributaries:

    • the Butižnica River, 39 km long with the catchment of 225 sqkm
    • the Radljevac Stream, 20 km long, (Butižnica tributary).

    The catchment has 2 gauging stations, with daily records.

    Focal catchment with sampling sites and significant structures.

    Team presentation

    UZ / Marko Miliša, Luka Polović

    The Croatian core team is composed of Marko Miliša, Associate professor at the Faculty of Science, and Luka Polović, a young researcher with great interest and knowledge in freshwater ecology. He is full time employee within DRYvER and a cotutelle PhD student at the University of Zagreb and Masaryk University (Brno). Field work in the DRN was done with the help of colleagues from the University of Zagreb, Tvrtko Dražina – assistant professor expert in meiofauna and biospeleology; Vesna Gulin; Marina Šumanović – young researchers, Mirjana Dimnjaković – technitian, Ivan Beno – student.

    Why is this river network particularly interesting?

    This region is particularly interesting because of the geological substrate complexity and geographical location:

    • The limestone base influences the intermittence of rivers. Stream Radljevac, which is the main tributary of the river Butižnica, dries for at least two months over the summer.
    • The rest of the tributaries are numerous streams, with high diversity regarding their flow (from highly ephemeral to perennial) and their riverbeds (ranging from organic to sand, cobble, and pure bedrock).
    • Different types of limestone contribute to beautiful landscape with numerous interesting rock formations.

    The area is shifting from Humid subtropical to Hot-summer Mediterranean climate. Combined with porous limestone substrate, the underground and subsequently surface water dynamics are becoming less predictable.

    The region has small to no human impact, making it almost pristine. The area is sparsely populated due to emigration during the armed conflict at the end of the 20th century. Industry in the area is completely abandoned and agriculture is scarce. The only notable human impact at 1 of the 20 sampling sites is the household sewage waters. Some negligible morphological changes are in the area: one weir, one paved streambed, several bridges, all downstream of the adjacent sampling sites.

    Most of human activity takes place downstream of the sampling area and in the larger catchment. There are around 20 000 inhabitants in the large catchment and a few hundred inhabitants within the small catchment. The large catchment is under somewhat increased anthropogenic impact mostly due to tourism and agriculture which promote water abstraction, but also industry e. g. metallurgy as well as forestry activities.

    One of the main risks for the sampling campaign is that part of it is situated on the border of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The area can only be accessed with the permission of the local border police. Another problem that we faced was highly unmaintained road in the upstream area of Butižnica which was sometimes damaged by heavy rainfall. The inaccessibility of the terrain might be part of why it is still so preserved.

    Left: Croatian young researchers Marina Šumanović and Luka Polović at dry Radljevac stream. Right: Flowing Radljevac stream.