Knowledge Island I – Water Is Life

These pages give you a short description of the exibition "Water is Future".

River Biosphere

For water living spaces, we will use flowing waters as an example. Rivers and meadows close to natural habitats are a bird paradise. Kingfishers and sand martins build their nest caves into the cliffs. Sandpipers and little ringed plovers hatch on gravel benches. Birds of passage follow the river runs requiring large water spaces for resting. European rivers contain over a hundred species of fish. No fish lives just anywhere, each has its own preference. Trout love chilly, fast-flowing waters. Pikes and breams prefer slow flowing lowland waters. Natural river meadows belong to the most productive ecosystems and are the richest in species in Central Europe. The reason for the richness in species in natural river landscapes lies in the variety of biospheres on the narrowest of space. As in a mosaic a variety of different biotopes are being interlocked: flowing waters take turns with scanty gravel benches and depressions, which are rich in nutrients. River forests, wetlands and small ponds accompany river runs.

The European crayfish, an endangered species due to river extensions and the import of a fungus from American river crabs.

Germany is rich in water. Explore Germany's waters in all its forms by a mouse click. The interactive computer model, “Hydrologic Atlas of Germany“ (HAD) will show you informative maps either on precipitation data, existing ground water, water- supply or the complete water-body network, in complete detail.

Evaluating Water Bodies

For decades now, flowing waters have been evaluated through small animals from the waterfloor. Insect larvae, small crabs, mussels, and snails are some of them. Studying biological water quality in this way will tell a lot about water quality, which has improved persistently in past years due to the construction of sewage-water facilities. Since the introduction of the EU Water Directive, water quality has been under examination in a more comprehensive manner.
Not only small living animals will be assessed but also fish and water plants. Waterfront structure and sole take a part in the overall picure. For initial assessment, up to 2004, all rivers, lakes, coastal waters and ground water bodies have been examined comprehensively. As is typical for caddisfly larvae, their quivers are made artistically from little stones, grains of sand, or plants.
Info terminal displaying a selection of maps from  the Hydrologic Atlas of Germany.  A plancton net is used for retrieving micro-organism samples for the microscope.

Animals in and on Water

Biodiversity in a flowing water body will require diversity in habitats.
Depending on water morphology and its currents, a diverse mosaic of microbiospheres is formed and inhabited by a variety of living communites.

Life On Water

As early as in the Neolithic Age, humans discovered the benefits of settling on the waterfront and even on the water. Aside from being able to pursue fishery,  people primarily had moved to the waterside to be able to ward off enemies and wild animals.

At the info board, “Waterfront Animal Voices,“ listen to voices and sounds from different animals living on or in the water. The exhibit “Meadow Habitats“ allows visitors to assign typical meadow animals to their respective habitats.

Today, water is being appreciated mostly for its leisure and recreational value. River banks in cities are being activated, attractive leisure and resting zones created,  and new living spaces by or even on the water are in the making.
Water asks for movement. A variety of athletic disciplines take place on or in the water. Be it on sea, on quiet lakes, in outdoor and indoor pools, people seek the cooling wet by boat, boarding them with or without diving equipment, in a team or individually. Water sports are not only popular for leisure but also for athletic purposes. Stonehenge excavations proved that fish had already been caught by anglers in prehistoric times. Recreational fishing has become increasingly popular today. It is not as much a way to get food any longer as it is a means to enjoy nature on the waterfront.

 Water sports such as waterfloor diving, canoe polo and, as in this picture, water hockey  do not prove to be commonplace nor even olympic; yet, they are competitive disciplines.