The idea behind the Freshwater Information Platform

Major European research institutes have joined forces to enable and maintain the Freshwater Information Platform, a new community information resource.

Numerous EU funded projects addressing freshwater ecology and water management have generated websites, tools, databases and other products, which are intended for long-term use. However, many of them are not maintained after the project has ended and, moreover, they are dispersed across several project websites. For freshwater researchers and other users, it is challenging to gain an overview of projects and their products. The EU funded project BioFresh was the first to establish a platform — the Global Freshwater Biodiversity Information Platform — bringing together information and data on freshwater biodiversity in a clearly arranged and easily explorable way.

We now continue these efforts and extend the platform, widening its scope from biodiversity issues to all kinds of freshwater ecology, management and research topics. Our mission is to bring together the results of many projects dealing with freshwater ecosystems in one a single platform.


We offer a collection of resources and tools to support better science, policy and management of freshwater life. Whether you are a scientist, policy maker, consultant, educator, activist or simply an interested citizen, you are sure to find something on the platform that will enrich your work or feed your curiosity. This may be a database, a species distribution map, an exciting article, an online training manual or an idea prompted perusing this knowledge platform.

Take a few moments to explore the platform and find what is useful to you.

  • If you want to find a dataset that you can include in your own research consult the Freshwater Metadatabase or the Freshwater Metadata Journal.
  • If you are looking for occurrence data, distribution information, or species data check out the Freshwater Data Portal.
  • If you are after visualisations or geographic data you can check out our collection of thematic maps on the Global Freshwater Biodiversity Atlas.
  • If you are interested in freshwater species (including fishes, macro-invertebrates, macrophytes, diatoms, phytoplankton), their ecological preferences and biological characteristics visit the freshwaterecology.info database.
  • If you want to find out how to analyse and diagnose the effects of multi-stressor conditions check out the Freshwater Multi-Stressor Tools.
  • If you are interested in different other freshwater related research issues check out our comprehensive collection of resources, including a collection of often used expressions and terms in the Freshwater Glossary, Key Journals in the field, stories about Freshwater Researchers or interesting species in Freshwater Resources section.
  • To get an overview of European legislations consult the Freshwater Policies section and read various Policy Briefs of past and current EU funded research activities.
  • If you want to learn more about past and ongoing research projects and link yourself to global and European research initiatives you should have a look at our Freshwater Network site.
  • To find out about the latest developments and discussions in freshwater research and ecosystem management read our popular Freshwater Blog.
How to contribute

Currently the contents of the Freshwater Information Platform mainly result from ongoing or recently finalised EU funded projects (Freshwater Networks). But we highly welcome contributions from other projects and we invite scientists, students and other interested persons from all over the world to join in with our idea, adding data, maps or other information. The advantages of a common Freshwater Information Platform are obvious:

  • Information on freshwater management and biodiversity resulting from EU projects is easily available in a sustainable way from only one gateway.
  • Several projects joining forces to disseminate their results increase the visibility of freshwater research to the public and help reduce the cost of maintenance.
  • Products, tools and other resources resulting from previous projects are available for extension and enhancement for current and future projects.
  • The structure of the platform allows easy update of existing and addition of new tools, products and the like.

Contributions may, for example, include information about freshwater related research projects, metadata of freshwater datasets, occurrence data of freshwater species or research results visualised as maps.

The Freshwater Information Platform is built by BOKU - Vienna, UDE - Essen, IGB - Berlin & RBINS - Brussels.

It is currently funded by the EU project MARS.