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ELLS-IAGLR-2018 : \'Big Lakes, Small World\'. Exchange ideas and information on all aspects of large-lake limnology to highlight the diversity and commonalities across the world\'s great lakes.

‘Big Lakes - Small World’


September 23-28, 2018 Evian (France)

Main theme: Joint meeting on common issues and challenges across lakes over the world

Meeting objectives:

The meeting will provide an opportunity to explore and discuss issues and challenges related to the functioning of large lake ecosystems as well as ecosystems services, lake management, global stressors and lake data acquisition. These topics will be discussed from a variety of perspectives, including physical processes, chemical dynamics, and biological interactions across any trophic levels. Presentations will include both conceptual and empirically based talks on individual large-lake systems and comparisons across systems.

Confirmed Sessions and Keynote Speakers: 

1-      Ecosystem goods and services and sustainable management for large lakes

Lakes and large rivers provide a wide variety of services (ecosystem services) and require adapted management practices to maintain good water quality and ecological functioning. There is a thematic resonance among large lakes in Europe and North America and in many cases beyond (e.g., Lake Titicaca, Lake Victoria, Lake Kivu, Aral Sea…), namely, the political governance of shared waters. Nevertheless, the governance of large lakes (and rivers, e.g. St. Lawrence, Rhine, Nile, Mekong…), many of which are impacted by human activities, is prerequisite to sustainable management.  Governance requires scientific information acquired through surveillance and monitoring, stakeholder involvement, and reliable institutions to ensure that the multiple services that these large bodies of waters are restored and maintained. The session will present case studies on governance issues, ecosystem services, water quality assessment, restoration and rehabilitation practices with a focus on shared waters yet include other large lake studies that illustrate the topic.

Keynote Speaker: Gail Krantzberg (McMaster University, Canada)

Session Co-chairs, with contact information:

Michael Twiss (

Isabelle Domaizon (                                                                       

 2-      Large lakes and their watershed as a system

Lakes are strongly affected by their watersheds.  Anthropogenic pressures operating on the ecosystems in the watersheds, such as land use changes and related activities (logging, reforestation, agricultural practices, urbanization,…) combine with ongoing global climate change to alter physical and biological fluxes into the lakes.  These changes affect the input of nutrients and pollutants and therefore modify the ecological functioning of lakes and their ability to provide ecosystem services.  In large lakes, effects may be different on nearshore and offshore sub-systems.  Threats such as persistent pollutants (e.g. pesticides, drug residues, hormone-effect substances, PCB, PAH, dioxins, furans…) and micro- and nano-plastics particles are also affected by watershed processes and pose challenges for freshwater sciences.  In addition, large lakes can affect their watersheds through nutrient subsidies from emerging insects and seasonal fish migrations up rivers and streams, which in turn are affected by alterations to waterways (e.g. dams, weirs, embankments, water withdrawals…). This session welcomes contributions that link large lakes to their watersheds.

Keynote Speaker: Gesa Weyhenmeyer (Uppsala University, Sweden)

Session Co-chairs, with contact information:

Lars Rudstam (

Frank Cattaneo (

 3-      Diversity of the world’s large lakes and their responses to local and global stressors

No lake is exactly similar to another, they differ in their morphometry and physico-chemistry, their ecology and also in the degree of anthropic pressure they endure. The variation in pressures on lake ecosystems is linked to the type of land-use in a lake`s watershed. The large diversity in lake types greatly contributes to the value lakes have for nature and society. Therefore, given this variation in a lake`s aspects, lake ecosystems worldwide undergo the interaction of global stressors - like climate warming - with local stressors such as pollution or nutrient loading in contrasting ways.  This session will present case studies of short- and long-term changes in large lakes from different continents, as influenced by multiple stressors. With the session we aim to investigate how stressors interact with each other, as well as with specific lake traits in determining the variable effects humans have on lake ecosystem functioning and services.

Keynote Speaker: Eric Jeppesen (Aarhus University, Denmark)

Session Co-chairs, with contact information:

Bas Ibelings (

Nathalie Chèvre (Unil.Ch)

 4-      Recent advances on the role of biological interactions, food web structure and biodiversity on lake function

The composition, structure and dynamics of food webs in large lakes have important implications for the overall functioning of these ecosystems and their ability to provide for a variety of services including sustainable fisheries, safe drinking water and recreational opportunities. Recent methodological developments (both techniques and statistics) have facilitated an improved ability to study these food webs. Advances in measuring diversity and food web connections allow researchers to better describe trophic structures and quantitative analyses enable syntheses of food web dynamics. In turn, recent studies have revealed important spatial and temporal variations in food web functioning and have highlighted the consequences of food web alterations on various ecosystem services. The goal of this session is to consider the diversity, structure and function of large lake food webs, within and across trophic levels; from viral/microbial processes to the dynamics of top predators and fisheries which exploit them. We invite submissions of both basic and applied research studies from a variety of spatial and temporal scales and including single-system studies or across-system comparisons. We are in particular interested in highlighting studies using recent or novel methods to describe interactions between species and food webs and the consequences of their diversity and dynamics in ecosystem functioning.

Keynote Speaker: Steven Wilhelm (University of Tennessee, USA)

Session Co-chairs, with contact information:

Thomas Hook ( 

Stéphan Jacquet (

 5-      What makes a "large lake" large? Physical and biogeochemical gradients and fluxes

Despite the abundant diversity of “great lakes” around the world, all large lakes share one thing in common: Their size. Yet precisely what signifies a “large” lake is open for some interpretation. Lakes that are large in volume may simply be very deep, and so it is typically surface area that is used to quantify lake size. Yet depth and surface area alone may not be sufficient, since the spatial scale of vertical and horizontal gradients depends on the specific process in question, such as hydrodynamic circulation, biogeochemical fluxes, or lake-atmosphere exchange. In this session we encourage contributions that consider this question of scale, and what makes a “large lake” large. This could include examples such as stratification and thermal bar development, Coriolis effects on waves and circulation, gradients in heat, moisture, and gas fluxes, lake-atmosphere feedbacks, and ecological and biogeochemical gradients.

Keynote Speaker: Sally MacIntyre (UCSB, USA)

Session Co-chairs, with contact information:

John Lenters (

Natacha Pasche (

 6-      Research gaps and emerging tools/technologies for limnology

The understanding of processes regulating ecosystems and the need to acquire data in both the long and the short term, are entering a new phase that is a major change in traditional approaches to environmental monitoring. Indeed, the contribution of innovative technologies allows in situ measurement at high spatial or temporal resolutions, inaccessible until now, as well as to access new types of observations. Automated buoy sensors, satellites and LIDARS for surface and sub-surface data, drones, ROVs and gliders for deeper layers, are integrated with traditional as well as new generation sensors. In addition to the technical and technological challenges of implementing these instruments, the production of mass data generates methodological constraints (for example calibration and cleaning of immersed sensors), data analysis, storage, and durability. In parallel, data from innovative technologies in molecular biology, physics (e.g., hydrodynamics) or chemistry (e.g., sensors) create similar issues (analysis challenges, storage, sustainability). Research on lake ecosystems must now fully integrate and exploit these innovative technologies. The development of drones, gliders, smartphone applications, and the deployment of innovative sensors for the acquisition of physicochemical and biological data at high speed (T, O2, pH, N, P, pigments, micro-organisms, etc.) will greatly advance understanding of the evolutionary processes of lacustrine environments, as well as their adaptive responses to forcing. This session is dedicated to these new tools, documenting methodological progress or results of these innovative methods.

Keynote Speaker: Stephen Maberly (Center for Ecology and Hydrology, UK)

Session Co-chairs, with contact information:

Jean Guillard (

Steve Chapra (

Alfred Johnny Wüest (


 7-      Emerging working strategies in limnology: citizen sciences, networks and team science, open science…

The need to better understand and protect the world’s ecosystems, together with the increasing development of technologies that allow us to handle large amount of data, has led to a revolution in the way we do ecological science. Since the beginning of the 21st century, we have witnessed the emergence of new fields (e.g. the Science of Team Science), practices (networking, open data, citizen science), or needs (ontologies and thesauri), to answer contemporary challenges and the necessity of research based on cross-disciplinary engagement and collaborations. The goal of this session is to i) discuss how these new practices apply to Large Lakes Limnology, and to ii) present projects that have developed networking, data storing facilities, conceptual and methodological strategies to promote these new ways of working together. We welcome submissions from all aspects of new emerging working strategies, particularly those that illustrate these new research practices on large lakes.

Keynote Speaker: Stephanie Hampton (Washington State University, USA)

Session Co-chairs, with contact information:

Orlane Anneville (

Allison Specht (


Invited sessions : two selected sessions

1-         Challenging the cold: Advances in winter limnology of large lakes under climate change

 Winter remains the least explored season in limnological research; however, awareness is rising that the coldest time of the year may be fundamentally important for ecosystem functioning throughout the entire annual cycle. Fluctuations in lake ice-cover regulate the interplay of physical, chemical, and biological processes in lakes and may not only affect conditions during winter time but further influence ecosystem dynamics of the following seasons. As climate warming is altering the ice-cover and temperature regime of lakes, it is crucial to understand how large systems will respond to these changes, given their societal value as drinking water resource and the dependence of local economies.

This session will be open to all aspects of winter limnology on large lakes, with particular focus on (but not restricted to) ice-covered systems. We welcome contributions addressing fundamental research questions as well as the implications of changing winter conditions for society (e.g., fisheries and hydropower operation). In addition, we encourage discussions on working experiences during winter time and on the advancing of experimental challenges and new measurement technologies (e.g.,  satellite and drone imagery, in-situ instrumentation) in lake winter research.

 Keynote speaker: Warwick F. Vincent (Département de Biologie, Université Laval, Québec, Canada) - Email:

 Session Co-chairs, with contact information:

Hannah E. Chmiel (Physics of Aquatic Systems Laboratory and Limnology Centre, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland) - Email:

Nikolai Filatov (Director of the Northern Water Problems Institute (NWPI),Karelian Reserach Centre, Russian Academy of Sciences, Petrozavodsk, Russia) - Email:

Philippe Van Cappellen, Canada Excellent Research Chair in Ecohydrology, Department of Earth and Environmental Science, University of Waterloo, Canada; Email:

 Homa Kheyrollah Pour, Department of Earth and Environmental Science, University of Waterloo, Canada; Email:

2-            Coupling long-term monitoring, remote sensing and modelling for the assessment of lake ecological status

Lake ecosystem services are directly related to their ecological status. Therefore, there is comprehensive need for reliable assessment of water quality based on appropriate monitoring of their hydrodynamics, physicochemical and biological functioning. However, long-term monitoring is still challenging and expensive in large lakes, due to their high spatial variability and the need for large vessels and oceanographic equipment. Satellite remote sensing has proved to be effective for monitoring water quality on a synoptic scale, but only for the surface layer. Still, the overpassing frequency is not suitable to track short term changes, and cloud cover can cause data gaps.
On the other hand, modelling can complement satellite imagery and field monitoring by providing continuous series of depth profiles. Incorporating remote sensing methods and modelling approaches in existing long-term monitoring without losing continuity in the data series presents a new perspective for lake function understanding and water quality management. In particular, such approaches can help distinguish between long-term trends in the ecosystem and interannual variability.

This session is dedicated to research results from long-term monitoring, remote sensing applications and/or modelling for assessing lake water quality. Submissions from approaches coupling long-term monitoring, remote sensing and modelling are particularly welcome.

Keynote speaker:Damien Bouffard (Head of the research group “Aquatic Physics”, EAWAG, Seestrasse 79 6047 Kastanienbaum, Switzerland) - email :

Session Co-chairs, with contact information:

Brigitte Vinçon-Leite Leesu, Ecole des Ponts ParisTech, 6-8 avenue Blaise Pascal 77455 Champs-sur-Marne, France ;

Jordi Prats-Rodriguez, Irstea, Pôle AFB-Irstea « Hydro-écologie des Plans d’eau », 3275 Route de Cézanne, 13 182 Aix-en-Provence Cedex 5 France ;

Ram Yerubandi, Water Science and Technology, Environment and Climate Change Canada,

Lyubov Burlakova, Great Lakes Center, SUNY Buffalo State, 1300 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo, NY 14222, USA,