Lake Piburg

Lake Piburg is a mountain lake at 913 m of elevation, situated on the western slopes of the Ötz valley above Ötz. The lake is about 14 hectares large and has a maximum depth of 25 meters. Research at this lake started in the 1930s with limnological monitoring performed since the 1960s and 70s. Intensive recreational use and close by agriculture lead to eutrophication of the lake, which was repaired through an Olszewski tube installed in 1970. Today, the lake is oligo-mesotrophic.

The main research infrastructure at the lake is a floating platform equipped with a weather station and sensors measuring water temperature, conductivity, O2 and pH. This platform works all year round with online data transmission.

The data gathered is used for research on bacterioplankton, mixotrophic flagellates and copepods as well as the stratification of the lake and its changes under climate influences.

Lake Piburg is part of the LTSER platform Tyrolean Alps within the international LTER (Long-Term Ecosystem Research) network and a training location for students of the University of Innsbruck.



  • LTER Monitoringprogramm (Long Term Ecological Research, Plattform Tyrolean Alps)
  • Auftragsforschung Gemeinde Ötz (monatliche Beprobung)

Recent Publications

  • HARRINGER M. & ALFREIDER A. (2021): Primer evaluation and development of a droplet digital PCR protocol targeting amoA genes for the quantification of Comammox in lakes. Scientific Reports 11, Art. No. 2982,
  • JANE S.F., HANSEN G.J.A., KRAEMER B.M., […] SOMMARUGA R., et al. (2021): Widespread deoxygenation of temperate lakes. Nature 594, 66-70,
  • KRAEMER B.M., PILLA R.M., […] SOMMARUGA R., et al. (2021): Climate change drives widespread shifts in lake thermal Habitat. Nature Climate Change 11, 521-529,
  • OSWALD P., STRASSER M., HAMMERL C. et al. (2021): Seismic control of large prehistoric rockslides in the Eastern Alps. Nat Commun 12, 1059,
  • AGUILAR P. & SOMMARUGA R. (2020): The balance between deterministic and stochastic processes in structuring lake bacterioplankton community over time. Molecular Ecology 29:16, 3117 - 3130,
  • OSWALD P., HUANG J.-J. S., FABBRI S., AUFLEGER M., DAXER C., STRASSER M. & MOERNAUT J. (2020): Strong earthquakes as main trigger mechanism for large pre-historic rock slope failures in Western Tyrol (Austria, Eastern Alps): constraints from lacustrine paleoseismology. EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-14611,
  • PILLA R.M., WILLIAMSON C.E., […], SOMMARUGA R., STRAILE D., STROCK K.E., et al. (2020): Deeper waters are changing less consistently than surface waters in a global analysis of 102 lakes. Scientific Reports 10, No. 20514,
  • SONNTAG B. & SOMMARUGA R. (2020): Effectiveness of Photoprotective Strategies in Three Mixotrophic Planktonic Ciliate Species. Diversity-Basel 12/6, No. 252,
  • ALFREIDER A. & TARTAROTTI B. (2019): Spatiotemporal dynamics of different CO2 fixation strategies used by prokaryotes in a dimictic lake. Sci Rep 9, 15068
  • NIEDRIST G.H., PSENNER R. & SOMMARUGA R. (2019): The climate crisis increases not only vertical and seasonal water temperature differences, but also irregular variabilities in a mountain lake. In: SEFS11 - 11th Symposium for European Freshwater Sciences, June 30–July 5, 2019, Zagreb, Croatia. Abstract book. Zagreb: Croatian Association of Freshwater Ecologists., S. 30
  • NÜRNBERG G.K. (2019): Hypolimnetic withdrawal as a lake restoration technique: determination of feasibility and continued benefits. Hydrobiologia.
  • OSWALD P., PÖLL J., HUANG J.-J.S., INNERHOFER D., STRASSER M. & MOERNAUT J. (2019): Investigating trigger mechanisms for Mid-to-Late Holocene landslide clustering in the Eastern Alps using the sedimentary infill of Piburgersee (Central Tyrol, Austria). Geophysical Research Abstracts 21: 1
  • TARTAROTTI B., SOMMARUGA R. & SAUL, N. (2019): Contrasting diurnal patterns in antioxidant capacities, but not in expression of stress protein genes among copepod populations from clear versus glacially fed alpine and subalpine lakes. Journal of Plankton Research, Volume 41, Issue 6, November 2019, Pages 897–908
  • WAIBEL A., PETER H. & SOMMARUGA R. (2019): Importance of mixotrophic flagellates during the ice-free season in lakes located along an elevational gradient. Aquat Sci, 81: 45

For more publications please click here.

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