Rafaela Schinegger

Rafaela Schinegger

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Past visiting scholar
Department of Fisheries and Wildlife


Rafaela Schinegger is a senior scientist, post-doc and lecturer at the Institute of Hydrobiology and Aquatic Ecosystem Management at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna, Austria (BOKU) and she coordinates research projects on fish ecology, sustainable hydropower use and ecosystem services in the Alps and across Europe.

Rafaela’s research examines how fish populations respond to different ecological stresses (also called pressures) at a variety of different geographical scales. Her doctoral thesis work focused on “Specific and multiple human pressures and their impacts on fish assemblages in European running waters“, a theme that has been continued in her subsequent research.

More specifically, she helps to provide methods on how to link freshwater ecological status to the impact of different pressures and to estimate how much each pressure (e.g. pollution) needs to be reduced in order for freshwater ecosystems to reach a good ecological status with focus on freshwater fish assemblages.

Overall, this helps support and strengthen the implementation of the European Water Framework Directive, in terms of understanding the effect of multiple human pressures on freshwaters and the potential value of ecosystem services and related water management activities.

Finally, it is important for her to support the “science-policy interface” by making scientific results accessible, easy to understand and “digestible” for water managers and other relevant stakeholders and decision makers.

From August to December 2015, Rafaela was a Fulbright scholar at MSU’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, in Dr. Dana Infante’s Aquatic Landscape Ecology Lab, working with her and her team on the influence of human pressures on riverine fish assemblages and related cross-continental comparisons between Europe and the U.S.A.

Research Interests: Fish ecology; river ecology; human impacts on running waters; fish-based assessment methods; large-scale analyses; modeling; data mining; statistics; GIS; project management; data base management; science-policy interface; river basin management


Affiliated with the Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability