WINDERMERE: Lakes and climate change (completed)

Modelling ecosystems under climate change: Windermere as a model lake system

About the project

Climate profoundly affects ecosystem functioning, as well as human populations inhabiting and exploiting ecosystems. Hence, climate change is likely to have serious ecological, economic and societal consequences that it is urgent to investigate. Here we propose to develop a complete matrix community model for exploration, quantification and prediction of climate effects on lake ecosystems. Lakes are particularly abundant in Norway and provide people with a number of economic, recreational and cultural goods and services around the world. To date, the consequences of climate change on lake fish communities are very poorly understood. Windermere (UK) is a large natural lake that has been intensively studied since the early 1940's, and for which we have exceptional data on nutrients, plankton, and fish. In a first step of the project we will develop separate statistical models to quantify each of the interactions in the Windermere food-web, including possible demographic effects of rapid life-history evolution already detected in both the predator and prey fish populations. Then, parameter estimates from these models will be used as matrix entries in the community model. The refinement of our matrix approach will provide accurate predictions and uncertainty for the effects of global warming on temperate lake ecosystems in the decades ahead. To reach our objectives we will rely on a web of high-level, international collaborations where partners will perfectly complement each other through intensive interactions. The two researchers funded by the project (a biologist and a modeller) will be hosted at CEES1, and will be supervised and assisted by highly qualified scientists from CEES, CEH2 and CNRS3. This inclusive, international project is ultimately designed to provide society with cost-effective, robust management strategies for natural resources under climate change.


University of Iowa (USA)


This project is funded by the Research Council of Norway.


Start: 1.5.2008. End: 31.07.2012.


Published Apr. 23, 2012 3:54 PM - Last modified Nov. 23, 2012 11:36 AM