Lake and Glacier Ecology


Our group consists of experts in lake biogeochemistry, microbial and zooplankton ecology, photobiology, and paleolimnology.

Over the past years, our research has focused on understanding how organisms cope with the harsh and dynamic environmental conditions typical of high mountain lakes located in the temperate region and their ecological function. With the rapid changing climate recorded in our region, we are facing unprecedented challenges in understanding how these lakes are being affected and how they will continue to change in the future. Therefore, the effects of climate change on alpine lake and glacier ecosystems have been at the center of our research. For example, we are investigating how these changes are affecting the biodiversity and ecosystem functioning of alpine lakes affected by glacier retreat.

We work mainly in the Alps, but also in other mountain regions such as the Himalayas, Andes, as well as in the Arctic region (Svalbard, Greenland). The remoteness of those ecosystems makes them prime study objects to address topics related to the impact of different global changes.

Our approach is multidisciplinary and includes field and laboratory studies that involve the interaction of biological, physical and chemical aspects of lakes, particularly of those located above treeline. We study a wide range of organisms (viruses to fish) and ecological processes. As a research base, we use the alpine research station located at the shore of Gossenköllesee at 2417 m above sea level and the subalpine Piburgersee located at 913 m a.s.l. The latter lake has the longest continuous limnological record in Austria (>55 years). Both lakes are part of the LTSER program and Gossenköllesee additionally of GLEON.

Our research aims are to inform policies and practices that can help protect and conserve mountain lakes for future generations. At the Lake and Glacier Research Group, we are committed to advancing our understanding of mountain lake ecosystems and their role in a global context. We welcome collaboration with other researchers and stakeholders, and are dedicated to sharing our findings with the the public and the broader scientific community.

Group Members        

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