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Ecological Research Station Rees

In February 2024, the new Ecological Research Station of the University of Cologne was inaugurated in Rees-Bienen. It replaced the nearby former station in Grietherbusch that was used as the field station since 1972.

The Ecological Research Station is located in the floodplain area of the Lower River Rhine, close to the border of the Netherlands. The modern building was constructed in a sustainable way, with a photovoltaic system on the roof and a geothermal energy heating system. Furthermore, rainwater is collected for the use in the sanitary areas.

The new building offers accommodation for field courses, but also guest researchers. It is equipped with a seminar room and office space, laboratories, aquarium rooms, and a lounge with kitchen. The building therefore offers ideal conditions to support research-based learning.

For questions contact the managing director Dr. Kristin Scharnweber (

Ecological Rhine Station

The Ecological Rhine Station of the University of Cologne (since April 2002) is Germany's unique swimming research facility. The former Rhine vessel (60 m long, 11 m wide) allows to study freshwater ecology onsite - literally "on stream". Water from the river is continuously pumped through different flumes (1.5 - 6 m long channels) and aquaria on board to carry out experiments with typical running water organisms under defined conditions. The vessel is equiped with two laboratories and additional rooms for microscopy, handling of field samples and desk work. A 17 m long raft on its stern made for landing the rowing boats is used for sampling and carrying out experiments directly in the stream (up to 1.5 m/sec, channels are directly immersed in the surface water). Here the biofilm and the macrobenthos communities on exposed substrates can easily be sampled at all water levels during long-term and short-term experiments.