Working group topic 4: International network of lake sites
The responses of lakes to year-to-year fluctuations in the weather can give important clues concerning how lakes might respond to future climatic changes. Lakes with longterm records of physical, chemical, and biological data can be especially useful in these analyses. A number of lakes in Europe and North America have now been studied intensively for at least twenty years. More recently, some of these datasets have been assembled into regional and national networks that, very often, were established to resolve specific water quality problems. The Working Group discussed the rationale behind a number of existing networks and highlighted the need to sustain such networks over a long period of time. The structure of two (the US Long Term Ecological Research Network and the UK Environmental Change Network) was discussed in greater detail and compared with more specialised networks that are still operating in Europe. At the end of the session, the group agreed to produce a database of all known long-term lake sites in Europe and North America, and devised a questionaire that could be circulated to all participants. In the following Appendix Table we have assembled some summary data from a number of lakes in Europe and North America that are regularly monitored using standard methods. This list of lakes and reservoirs is not exhaustive but includes examples of waterbodies from all of the countries represented at the NATO workshop. The group expressed the hope that this information would provide a useful baseline for investigators planning collaborative research on environmental change, and recommended that participants should explore ways of expanding the network to include a greater variety of lake-types.
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