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NETLAKE Summer Training School: A Workshop for Both Early Stage Researchers and Lifelong Learners

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The Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON) is supported in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grant Number DBI RCN 0639229 and MSB 1137327, 1137353 and other generous donors. This blog receives technical support from the Center for Limnology (CFL) at University of Wisconsin-Madison and Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. Any information, opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this blog are those of the individual author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of NSF, CFL, Cary Institute, GLEON or GLEON Student Association (GSA).


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By Liz Ryder and Eleanor Jennings

The first NETLAKE (Networking Lake Observatories in Europe, EU COST Action ES1201) training school took place from 12th to 17th June 2014 at the Erken Laboratory, Uppsala University, in Sweden. A multi-disciplinary group of 23 trainees from 19 countries took part. The training focused on automated monitoring and high-frequency data analysis, and included techniques for building simple temperature sensors, deployment, data analysis and processing, data visualization and practical data management.

Photo: NETLAKE training school, Erken Laboratory.

NETLAKE training school participants and trainers, Erken Laboratory, June 2014. (Photo credit: Liz Ryder)

An important element of the school was to foster and encourage team science and collaboration. Two groups were established, promptly naming themselves “Teamtastic” and “Team Magnificent!” The teams were first challenged to measure the temperature profile in Lake Erken.

Each group was tasked to build a thermistor chain (12 temperature sensors on a 3-meter chain), develop and write the logger program, bench test the system, prepare the system, and deploy the chain. This element of the training school provided an ideal platform to promote team science, as well as empowering individual strengths and encouraging scientific and technical discussion and justification.

Both teams (eventually!) prevailed over some very windy weather, a few logistical and technical issues, and the occasional “discussion” on team tactics, to successfully complete the task. After downloading the data, the groups were tasked with a second challenge to present the data using the packages and tools that they had been introduced to over the duration of the training school, including statistical programs R and JMP, as well as two GLEON-affiliated tools LakeAnalyzer and B3.

Thanks to all the facilitators: Eleanor Jennings, Don Pierson, Alo Lass, Bas Ibelings and Liz Ryder. A special thanks to Niklas Strömbek, Marnix Laanen of Water Insight and Anders Hasselrot, who each led formal instruction sessions on preparation of buoy deployments, with a demo on WISP-3 (Water Insight Spectrometer with three radiometers) from Marnix, an instrument used for water quality monitoring, and to Kurt Pettersson and William Colom of the Erken Laboratory.

Overall, the benefits of practical, hands-on experience were evident in the execution of the group challenges and the dynamic and informative report-back sessions in the evenings.

Additional highlights included watching the World Cup matches, particularly the controversial Spain vs Netherlands (Netherlands won 5-1), trainee research presentations (by candlelight due to a power cut), trainee-led workshop sessions, such as Lake Analyzer led by Yang Yang and B3 led by Rosalie Bruel, and Alo Laas fearlessly setting off in his waders to rescue “Team Magnificent” when they ran aground in the Erken shallows. On the final evening, as the sun set over Lake Erken, a barbeque was enjoyed by all, followed by a variety of national songs, dancing and musical chairs, including a song composed by Bas for the special occasion (see below).

Photo: Collage of NETLAKE training school.

Collage of events at the NETLAKE Training School, Lake Erken, Sweden, June 2014. (Photo credit: Liz Ryder)

Erken’s Windrose Song

(Jaques Brel – Le plat pays)
Bas Ibelings
NETLAKE Training School Erken 2014

When the Northern wind blows across Erken strong and foul
When the Northern wind makes the reeds hore grunge and growl
When the Northern wind punishes the vain and proud
When the Northern wind makes Erken froth like stout
When the Northern wind creates a Lang muir cell
When the Northern wind makes you cold as hell
Then Team Magnificent gets cosy to keep warm

When the rain falls on Erken and its basin
Turning streams into rivers, sending blooms blazing
Heaps of DOC turning the lake fully brown
And under the Easterly clouds people are feeling down
When days go in stupid repetition
Making PhD students doubtful of their mission
Then Team Magnificent just sits down and cries

When Westerly winds make the platform strain its anchor weight
And choppy water never leaves it long level or straight
When angry currents slowly drag it towards the shore
So the next day it is not where it was before
When Westerly winds mess with student’s moods
And rocky shores damage expensive goods
Then Team Magnificent jumps over board to save the day

When Lake Erken bakes in warm Southern Sun
And all involved are happy, full of whit and pun
When deploying a thermocouple seems a piece of cake
Picking the right spot is just so easy, give or take
When the Southern wind blows gentle like a breeze
When the Southern wind makes Erken smile, say cheese
Then Magnificent screams from pride and joy


  1. Will there be a second NETLAKE Summer Training School in 2015?

  2. Hi Jason. The answer is yes, yes, and yes! 2015 will be a busy year in NETLAKE. Firstly, there will be a Training School on data analysis for high frequency data which will be held in Estonia, dates currently being decided, but summer/fall. There will also be a small training school related to our citizen science working group, and a training school in collaboration with another COST Action, CyanoCOST. We will post information as we have it on our website (, and our Facebook page.

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