Quell NPB – SPrings and climate change in the bavarian forest national park


At springs groundwater comes to light. They are a very special biotope which merges with spring streams. The springs in the Bavarian Forest National Park have excellent water quality and therefore a high importance for the supply of drinking water in the region. The water volume can change dynamically throughout the year, whereas the source hydro chemical conditions from the silicate rocks, such as pH value and conductivity, change little. The same is true for water temperatures which in winter are mostly warmer and summer mostly cooler than the ambient temperature, between 6 and 8 degrees Celsius depending on the altitude. The spring habitat is a relatively species poor habitat when compared to mountain streams. This habitat is populated by very special and specialized species. There are more than 500 springs in the national park area, found between 600 and 1200m altitude. This includes flowing springs and seeps, as well as transitional springs formed of both types. The amount and temporal distribution of spring water flow depends upon the regional climate. If the climate changes then the springs could also change, with a knock on effect for the spring habitats and their resident species.

Project aims:

The “Quell NPB” research project is led by the Berechtesgaden National Park administration and backed by over 30 years of experience in spring monitoring. In this project the knowledge collected in the Berechtesgaden area will be compiled in order to identify relevant indicators for detecting climate related changes in springs. The project intends to develop a road map for a standardized Bavarian wide spring monitoring program, and in the process determining:

  • • Which springs should be selected for monitoring in a given area.
  • • How and with what frequency should these springs be sampled.
  • • Which indicator types should be repeated regularly.
  • • How should the collected data be stored long term and analyzed.

Study design:

In the Bavarian Forest National Park five water catchment areas were selected for spring monitoring: Große Deffernik, Kolbersbach, Große Ohe, Kleine Ohe and Reschwasser. The catchment areas were split into three altitude levels, high, medium and low areas, and for each level two springs were selected for further study. Within this project a total of 30 springs will be studied and described structurally. In June 2017 fauna sampling was conducted and physicochemical parameters such as pH value, conductivity and oxygen content were measured, with repeat measurements planned in May and September 2018. The water temperature at spring outlets has been continuously measured using data loggers since September 2017. After analyzing this data 15 springs will be selected for long term monitoring. The determination of species from the fauna samples will be conducted by experts and genetic analyses (metabarcoding).


Bavarian State Ministry of the Environment and Consumer Protection

Contact person:

Dr. Linda Seifert
Project coordinator


  • Nationalpark Berchtesgaden (project leader)
  • Landesbund für Vogelschutz in Bayern e.V (LBV)


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