Freshwaters are ecologically important and socially valued elements of landscapes and a nexus of hydrological, biogeochemical, biotic and human social interactions. The North Temperate Lakes Long-Term Ecological Research project has been operating since 1981 in lake districts of southern and northern Wisconsin. During that time it has amassed an impressive long-term data set and understanding of the ecology of lakes and also been a leader in developing concepts for use in long-term ecological research, such as ecosystem services and ecosystem resilience. This renewal proposal builds on 33 years of prior research to examine integrated socio-ecological dynamics in the two study areas, focusing on the ecological, climatological and social processes that affect lake districts and the interactions among these processes. Four interrelated questions guide the proposed research: How and why have lake districts changed, and how will they change in the future? What are the major ecological and social responses of lake districts to climate change? How do multiple interacting drivers affect regional change in lake districts at multiple scales? and What are the magnitudes, interactions, and potential future flows of ecosystem services in lake districts? A diverse group of natural, social, and information scientists will undertake the research. <br/><br/>New synthetic understandings of the causes and consequences of ecological and social-ecological change in lake districts will be produced relevant to decisions of individuals and institutions concerned with the future of the region and the welfare of its residents. Results are integrated in K-12, undergraduate, graduate and continuing education, and data will be available and provided to individuals, non-governmental organizations, local, state and federal agencies, and to assist in global assessments of environmental and ecological change.
LTER: Comparative Study of a Suite of Lakes in Wisconsin