Colorado mountains

North Temperate Lakes LTER: A Research Sampler

Poster Number: 
Presenter/Primary Author: 
Emily Stanley
The vision for North Temperate Lakes (NTL) LTER is to gain a comprehensive understanding of lakes and lake districts at longer and broader scales than has been traditional in limnology. We employ long-term observations, comparisons, experiments, and diverse modeling and statistical tools to understand change in social-ecological systems. Here, we highlight four ongoing initiatives that demonstrate our multifaceted, interdisciplinary approach to research and reflect the overarching questions that organize our current efforts: 
Question 1: How and why have lake districts changed, and how will they change in the future?  Estimated phosphorus loads to lakes in our southern Lake District over a 30-year period were used to develop management guidelines for reducing the likelihood of algal blooms in these systems.
Question 2: What are the major ecological and social responses of lake districts to climate change?  A rigorous accounting of the regional carbon budget of the Northern Highlands Lake District determined how much and where carbon is stored and processed in this water- and carbon-rich landscape, as well as how climate change may affect regional carbon dynamics.
Question 3: How do multiple interacting drivers affect regional change in lake districts at multiple scales? A long-term study of invasive crayfish invasion coupled with a whole-ecosystem experiment to remove these invaders reveals complex interactions between food web structure, drought cycles, and crayfish population dynamics.
Question 4: What are the magnitudes, interactions, and potential future flows of ecosystem services in lake districts?  Surveys of boaters and landowners are being used to understand the social and environmental factors that draw people to different lakes and the environmental issues that these stakeholders perceive as most pressing in the region.

Background Photo by: Nicole Hansen - Jornada (JRN) LTER