By Samiullah Khan and Jonathan Doubek
The Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON) all-hands meeting in Lunz & Gaming, Austria is fast approaching! The host team has been busy preparing the conference site, as well as organizing the daytime and evening activities. This blog post is to give you a historical and research perspective of the conference site and let you know what to expect at GLEON 18.
Lake Lunz Background
Lake Lunz is oligotrophic lake of a glacial origin located in the small town of Lunz am See, 120 km southwest of Vienna in the foothills of Austrian limestone. Lunz am See is part of the Eisenwurzen region, which is historically famous for iron ore mining since the time of Celtic and Roman, and later Habsburg Empires. The area is also known as the coldest place in Central Europe. The lowest temperature recorded was -56.2 oC in 1932. History reveals that Lunz am See has been part of Austria since the country was founded in 976, which was later purchased and bestowed to the monastery of Gaming by Duke Albercht XI.
Lake Lunz is vernacularly called Lunzer Untersee (Lower Lake), which is due to its altitudinal relation to two small neighboring lakes, Mittelsee (Middle Lake) and Obersee (Upper Lake). Lake Lunz’s surface area is about 1 km2 with max and mean depths of 33.7 m and 20 m, respectively. The lake has approximately 27 km2 of uninhabited catchment area that consists of karstic plateau and is densely forested by Norway spruce and European beech. The area is very famous for tourism, and the main tourist attractions during summers are sport fishing, swimming, walking around the lake, hiking to the upper lakes and the famous summit peak of Dürrnstein, and skiing during winters.
Lake Lunz Research History
Lunz is widely known because of the “Biological Station Lunz (BSL)”, one of the oldest limnological research centers in Europe, which was founded by Carl Kupelwieser in 1905. Renowned and pioneered limnologists that were members of BSL – Franz Ruttner, August Thienemann and Carl Wesenberg-Lund – are well-known for their fundamental contributions in lake ecology. After a century of scientific research services that included the very first English translated and published limnological textbook (Fundamentals of Limnology; 1940 and 1953 by Franz Ruttner), the station was closed in 2003 due to administrative and financial issues. With persistent efforts of devoted scientists from the University of Vienna, BOKU University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, and Danube University Krems, in collaboration with federal and local Austrian governments, the station was revived and retrofitted in 2005 as an inter-university research center for aquatic sciences, now called Wasser Cluster Lunz. Wasser Cluster Lunz continues the century old legacy of BSL and offers basic and applied research on aquatic ecosystems including: aquatic microbial ecology, aquatic food chain research, biogeochemistry, ecotoxicology, restoration ecology, and management of streams, rivers and lakes. The center combines scientific expertise with modern technology to facilitate innovative research for conservation and the sustainable use of aquatic resources. The station is comprised of ten laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art technologies, offices, libraries, seminar rooms, boarding facilities, and field mesocosm stations. Students and researchers from across Europe and around the world visit the station for pursuing their field and laboratory research and also to attend seminars, workshops, and training courses.
Wasser Cluster’s team is composed of four working groups, a) AQUASCALE: experimental plankton ecology, b) BERG: biodiversity research and the ecology of running waters, c) BIOFRAMES: sustainable management of floodplains, and d) LIPTOX: aquatic food chains, lipids in aquatic systems, and ecotoxicology. Currently the station has more than 55 personnel, which is composed of two managing directors, four group leaders, two administrative staff, nine postdoctoral researchers, eight Ph.D. students, four project associates, six technical assistants, five facility managers, and 14 M.Sc. students.
Lake Lunz is a registered GLEON member site. In 2010, an instrumented buoy equipped with a YSI multiprobe, as well as other sensors, was installed which collects data and generates three whole-lake depth profiles daily.
Looking ahead to GLEON 18
There are many fun and exciting research and cultural activities planned for GLEON 18. The meeting takes place from 4-8 July, with 3 July and 9 July set aside for travel days. Two concurrent workshops are planned on Monday, one led by the GLEON Student Association (GSA) and the other led by NETLAKE. From 5-7 July the agenda includes brief update presentations, as well as time for working group and ad-hoc group research discussions. Exciting field trips are scheduled on Friday, July 8th, such as hiking in the Alps and around the sister lakes of Lake Lunz, visiting the historical Vienna Water Supply, and visiting some microbreweries around Gaming. Remember that the official registration is open until June 25th. Details for room booking and transportation can be found on the GLEON website. We hope to see many of you there!
Samiullah Khan is a Researcher at WasserCluster Lunz and a member of GSA. Jonathan Doubek is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Biological Sciences and a fellow in the Interfaces of Global Change at Virginia Tech, and he is co-chair elect for GSA.