Inland Waters, Vol 6, No 4 (2016)

Networked lake science: how the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON) works to understand, predict and communicate lake ecosystem response to global change

Paul C Hanson, Kathleen C Weathers, Timothy K Kratz
Pages: 543-554


The Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON) has built an international, grassroots network of scientists and citizens, data, and lake observatories to advance understanding of lake ecosystems. Through careful attention to the professional needs and aspirations of a community, GLEON has formed as its foundation the trust and respect essential to product-based network science. As a consequence, GLEON is making significant advancements in lake ecosystem understanding through all “five legs of the table that support scientific understanding”—natural history, multiscale data, experiments, theory, and comparative studies—with particular emphasis on multiscale data and comparative studies. Technical products, such as cyberinfrastructure in support of network data and operations, software tools for calculating lake physical metrics (e.g., thermocline depth, buoyancy frequency, Schmidt stability), and lake metabolism, as well as ecosystem-scale numerical simulation software, have derived from GLEON collaborations and have become community resources catalyzing interdisciplinary science. Education and outreach initiatives have served to engage citizens from outside the traditional boundaries of academia directly in research. Moreover, these cross-boundary collaborations have provided essential links to lake and reservoir stakeholders who have informed how science is prioritized and communicated within GLEON. As a grassroots network, GLEON derives its momentum, flexibility, and impact from its talented members, who are committed to the future sustainability of lakes and reservoirs and the services they provide.
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