Duration: 2010 - 2014


Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Andreas Schäffer (Module 1)
Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Henner Hollert (Module 3)
Dr. rer. nat. Martina Roß-Nickoll (Module 2)

Coordination and processing:

Dr. rer. nat. Björn Scholz-Starke (Module 2, coordination)


Ye Yuan, M.Sc. (Module 1)
Dr. rer. nat. Tilman Floehr (Module 3)
Katrin Strauch (Module 2)
Dr. rer. nat. Burkhard Schmidt (Module 1)
Dr. rer. nat. Dipl.-Ing. Richard Ottermanns (Module 2)


Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)


Cooperation partners:

- Research Center Jülich
- Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
- Water Technology Center Karlsruhe
- IWW Water Centre Mülheim
- Helmholtz Center Munich / Technical University Munich
- University of Stuttgart

- Tongji University Shanghai
- University of Nanjing
- Chongqing University


Joint Research Project:
-Sustainable Management of the Newly Created Ecosystem at the Three Gorges Dam (YANGTZE-PROJECT)
Research Group HYDRO:
- Pollutants / Water / Sediment – Impacts of Transformation and Transportation Processes on the Yangtze Water Quality
- Transformation, Bioaccumulation and Toxicity of Organic Micropollutants in the Yangtze Three Gorges Reservoir (MICROTOX)



The Three Gorges Dam is one of the great projects that enduringly change Chinas nature. Its Reservoir covers a total area of ca. 1085 km2 of the Yangtze river in a total length of 663 km. The creation of the reservoir caused the flooding of former urban, industrial and agricultural areas. This caused a release of substantial amounts of organic and inorganic pollutants into the reservoir. Additionally, contaminants and nutrients (e.g. nitrate, phosphate) enter the reservoir by runoff from adjacent agricultural areas as well as from sewage of industry, aquacultures and households. Periodical changes in water level cause flooding events and thereby a relocation of contaminated water, particulate matter and sediment onto agriculturally used areas along the reservoirs shore. The Three Gorges Reservoir and its surrounding area is the source of food and water for plenty of people. Based on these risks for the population and to preserve this newly created ecosystem it is of importance to develop techniques and procedures that sustainably limit the emission of contaminants into the reservoir.

The recent project is integrated into the joint research framework ‘Sustainable Management of the Newly Created Ecosystem at the Three Gorges Dam (YANGTZE-PROJECT)’ financed by the Federal Bureau of Education and Science (BMBF) as part of the research cluster ‘Pollutants / Water / Sediment – Impacts of Transformation and Transportation Processes on the Yangtze Water Quality’. The joint project is carried out in cooperation with numerous German and Chinese partners.

Aim of the presented project is to elucidate the fate (Module 1), potential of bioaccumulation (Module 2) and ecotoxicological properties of major Yangtze pollutants to indigenous organisms (Module 3). Overall objective is to develop a monitoring strategy to evaluate the degree of pollution and identify pollution hot spots in the Three Gorges Reservoir. Beyond may these findings serve as a starting point for a subsequent project on management strategies to reduce the pollution in temporary Yangtze flooding areas.

Fate of organic pollutants in the reservoir
Fate of organic pollutants in the reservoir: 1) Biotic and abiotic degradation (e.g. photodegradation); 2) Sorption to organic and inorganic particles; 3) Distribution between water and sediment. A high nutrient level in the reservoir elevates the microbi


- Bergmann A, Bi Y, Chen L, Floehr T, Henkelmann B, Holbach A, Hollert H, Hu W, Kranzioch I, Klumpp E, Küppers S, Norra S, Ottermanns R, Pfister G, Roß-Nickoll M, Schäffer A, Schleicher N, Schmidt B, Scholz-Starke B, Schramm KW, Subklew G, Tiehm A, Temoka C, Wang J, Westrich B, Wilken RD, Wolf A, Xiang X, Yuan Y (2011) The Yangtze-Hydro Project: a Chinese - German environmental program. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 19: 1341-1344
- Floehr T, Xiao H, Scholz-Starke B, Wu L, Hou J, Yin D, Zhang X, Ji R, Yuan X, Roß-Nickoll M, Schäffer A, Hollert H (2013) Solution by dilution? - A literature review on the ecotoxicological status of the Yangtze River region. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 20: 6934-6971. DOI 10.1007/s11356-013-1666-1.
- Holbach A, Floehr T, Kranzioch I, Wolf A (2013) Dilution of pollution? Processes affecting the water quality in the river-style Three Gorges Reservoir. Environmental Science and Pollution Research. DOI 10.1007/s11356-012-1252-y
- Scholz-Starke B, Ottermanns R, Rings U, Floehr T, Hollert H, Hou J, Li B, Wu Ll, Yuan X, Strauch K, Wei H, Norra S, Holbach A, Westrich B, Schäffer A, Roß-Nickoll M (2013) An integrated approach to model the biomagnification of organic pollutants in aquatic food webs of the Yangtze Three Gorges Reservoir ecosystem using adapted pollution scenarios. Environmental Science & Pollution Research 20:7009-7026. DOI 10.1007/s11356-013-1504-5.
- JIN X, WANG Y, JIN W, RAO K, GIESY JP, HOLLERT H, RICHARDSON KL, WANG Z (2014): Ecological risk of nonylphenol in China surface waters based on reproductive fitness. Environ Sci Technol 48, 1256-62
- WANG Y, TENG E, LIU T, LV Y, JIN X, GIESY JP, HOLLERT H (2014): A national pilot scheme for monitoring and assessment of ecological integrity of surface waters in China. Environmental Development 10, 104-107
- Liu L, Chen L, Shao Y, Zhang L, Floehr T, Xiao H, Yan Y, Eichbaum K, Hollert H, Wu L (2014): Evaluation of the ecotoxicity of sediments from Yangtze River estuary and contribution of priority PAHs to Ah receptor-mediated activities. PLoS ONE 9
- Scholz-Starke B, Yuan Y, Zhang P, Heister S, Hennig M, Rings U, Strauch K, Floehr T, Koch JT, Zoschke A, Könemann S, Xiao H, Yan Y, Thelen O, Schmidt B, Ottermanns R, Roß-Nickoll M, Hollert H, Schäffer A (2015) MICROTOX - Transformation, Bioaccumulation und Toxicity of Organic Micropollutants in the Three Gorges Reservoir. BMBF report (Federal Ministry of Education and Research—Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung) with the reference 02WT1141. In: Wilken RD (ed.) Final Report of the Joint Research Project Research Group HYDRO Sustainable Management of the Newly Created Ecosystem at the Three Gorges Dam (YANGTZE-PROJECT) Pollutants / Water / Sediment – Impacts of Transformation and Transportation Processes on the Yangtze Water Quality. pp. 292