US Long-Term Ecological Research Network

The Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network is a grassroots network of limnologists, ecologists, information technology experts, and engineers who have a common goal of building a scalable, persistent network of lake ecology observatories. Data from these observatories will allow us to better understand key processes such as the effects of climate and landuse change on lake function, the role of episodic events such as typhoons in resetting lake dynamics, and carbon cycling within lakes.

The observatories will consist of instrumented platforms on lakes around the world capable of sensing key limnological variables and moving the data in near-real time to web-accessible databases. A common web portal will allow easy access to researchers and the public. A series of web services supported by this portal will allow computation of metrics based on the high frequency data. Such metrics would include estimates of rates of important processes such as gross primary production and respiration.

GLEON builds on a successful pilot project involving the North Temperate Lakes LTER project, the human network of the NSF funded Pacific Rim Application and Grid Middleware Assembly (PRAGMA), the University of California-San Diego, the San Diego Supercomputer Center, and a consortium of institutions supporting the Taiwan Ecological Research Network (including the Taiwan Forestry Research Institute, the National Center for High Performance Computing, and Academia Sinica). Several lakes in Wisconsin and Yuan Yang Lake in Taiwan have been instrumented and near-real time.

In March 2005, scientists and information technology experts from ten countries met to discuss extending the network. Countries represented at this meeting included: Australia , Canada , China , Finland , Israel , New Zealand , South Korea , Taiwan , United Kingdom and the US . Coral reef scientists interested in using largely the same cyberinfrasture to build a parallel network for their systems also participated in the meeting. The group is led by a steering committee consisting of Peter Arzberger ( University of California-San Diego ), Tim Kratz ( University of Wisconsin ), David Hamilton ( University of Waikato, New Zealand ), and Fang-Pang Lin ( National Center for High Performance Computing, Taiwan ).

We envision a global network of hundreds of instrumented lakes, selected strategically around the globe in disparate lakes, to understand at local, regional, continental and global scales such issues as the direction and rate of change of lakes; the factors controlling daily, seasonal, and among-year variability of lake processes; and the reciprocal interactions between human use of lakes and lake ecology. By partnering with a diverse international community of research organizations, we capitalize on a range of scientific expertise while gaining a large gradient in lake physical, chemical, and biological characteristics. A global network of automated lake observatories, each collecting and transferring data in near real time, is within our grasp in the next decade, and will offer new opportunities in scientific collaboration and understanding of lake processes.



LTER Keyword