MARS is a EU research project aiming to investigate how multiple stressors affect rivers, lakes and estuaries in order to support EU policies, such as the Water Framework Directive and the Blueprint to Safeguard Europe’s Water Resources. The MARS approach includes multifactorial experiments at the waterbody level (addressing unexplored stressor combinations), and sixteen case studies at the river basin scale (in which multiple-stressor effects on ecological status and ecosystem services are modelled). Also, large-scale data are explored to understand how different stress combinations (e.g. higher water temperature and nutrients) affect water resources, ecological status and ecosystem services. Another challenge within the project is to build predictive models and a software tool to calculate how stressors affect rivers and lakes, and how to restore them. MARS currently reaches its ‘final straight’ as the project concludes in January 2018.

GLOBAQUA and MARS share similar scopes and objectives and thus cooperate on various issues. The MARS approach of basin scale modelling is currently applied for the GLOBAQUA catchments. Both projects investigate into European multistressor patterns and envisage synthesizing the outcomes. Joint outreach activities are planned in the form of common policy briefs and scientific publications. Further collaboration activities will be specified in a joint workshop scheduled for March 2017.

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