Our vision is to gain a predictive understanding of the ecology of lakes at longer and broader scales than has been traditional in limnology. Thus, we analyze and interpret data collected over long periods on suites of lakes. These lakes are located from high to low in the landscapes of forested, agricultural, and urban catchments. We also collaborate with other long-term lake sites in the Laurentian Great Lakes region and elsewhere. Our research program is interdisciplinary and aims to understand the ecology of lakes in relation to relevant atmospheric, geochemical, landscape and human processes. Our overarching research question is: How do biophysical setting, climate, and changing land use and cover interact to shape lake characteristics and dynamics over time (past, present, future)? We address this question through four interrelated themes:
Our two field stations facilitate research in the lake districts - the Hasler Laboratory of Limnology on Lake Mendota in the Yahara Lake District of southern Wisconsin and the Trout Lake Station in the Northern Highlands of Wisconsin. Most of our data are public and available through this web site. Most of our long-term data sets date to 1981—when NTL was one of the first six LTER sites funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, but several originate as early as the 1850s or as late as the mid 1990s. We invite collaboration with others.