Craig Williamson
Global Change Limnology Laboratory

Lake Ecological Observatory Networks

To assess the response of lakes to large scale environmental issues, it is critical to coordinate collection efforts and data synthesis. Many groups and organizations across the globe are taking this approach by creating Lake Observatory Networks.

Large scale lake observatory networks are essential to protecting lake water quality from local and regional to continental and global scales. In addition to being fascinating ecosystems for basic ecological studies, lakes are a fundamental requirement for life as we know it. Lakes provide not only water for drinking and agricultural food crops, but many other economically valuable ecosystem services as well as critical wildlife habitat. The Lacawac Sanctuary Field Station , where much of our current research takes place, is a "Hub for EONS."

GLEON The Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network is a grassroots organization committed to bringing together people from a variety of disciplines to create a global network of lake ecological observatories. Members of our Global Change Limnology Lab work closely with GLEON in a variety of ways including attending and helping to organize meetings and workshops, deploying GLEON buoys, and participating in the GLEON "Climate Sentinels" working group as well as in GLEON site exchanges. Two PhD students from our lab, Kevin Rose, and Jennie Brentrup, have served as the chair of the GLEON Graduate Student Association, and Kevin Rose, who has received his PhD, serves on the GLEON Steering Committee.

NEON In the United States, the National Ecological Observatory Network is collecting data from over 60 sites representing diverse ecosystems, both terrestrial and aquatic. Using continental-scale site-based, remote-sensing, and satellite data, NEON seeks to understand spatial and temporal changes in the environment in response to climate change, invasive species, and land use.

Many other lake observatory networks focus on specific regions of the world or specific sentinel responses such as temperature.

ARC-Lake Using remote sensing technology including radiometers such as ATSRs and SLSTRs, ARC-Lake derived lake surface water temperatures and ice cover for large lakes (>500 sq km) across the globe from 1991-2010.

CALON The Circumarctic Lakes Observation Network is comprised of lakes in Arctic Alaska, where researchers are monitoring physical, chemical and biological lake characteristics to better understand the effects of changing temperature and precipitation on this unique ecosystem.

GLaSS GLaSS is a European Union funded project that will provide a global lake observatory system based on two satellites with advanced optical sensing, one with high spatial resolution (Sentinel 2) and one with a high revisit frequency (Sentinel 3). The project will produce training materials and a user-friendly interface as well as educational materials to facilitate access to large amounts of data on water quality including chlorophyll and DOC.

GloboLakes The Global Observatory of Lake Responses to Environmental Change analyzed 20 years of data from 1000 lakes, remotely retrieving information on chlorophyll, cyanobacteria, total suspended matter, light attenuation, and surface water temperatures.

GLTC The Global Lake Temperature Collaboration was formed in 2010 to bring together researchers having access to in situ and satellite lake temperature data. This group seeks to elucidate patterns of lake warming and cooling; determine the factors controlling the observed patterns; compare measurement types (in situ and satellite); and understand the ecological consquences of changes in lake temperature.

LLO The Large Lakes Observatory (LLO) was created in 1994 to study large lakes across the globe. Because of the large size of these lakes, researchers can employ technology and techniques typically used in ocean environments.

NETLAKE Through the Networking Lake Observatories in Europe program, a group of scientists is using technology to study European lakes and reservoirs. The research will help inform decisions about current and future water quality issues.

UKLEON The United Kingdom recently developed a program called the United Kingdom Lake Ecological Observatory Network to study 11 lakes using buoys that can collect high-frequency data. This lake network will monitor meteorological and subsurface lake measurements, including temperature, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, pH, chlorophyll and phycocyanin (through fluorescence), and photosynthetically active radiation (PAR).