IT09-Mountain Lakes - Italy
Permanent oligotrophic lakes, ponds and pools
This site includes many lakes and temporary pools of the northern slope of Northern Apennines located between 1000 and 1850 m a.s.l. Most of these lakes are of glacial origin and some are still in pristine conditions. Research activity has been mainly addressed to the study of water bodies in the province of Parma within the boundaries of the Alta Val Parma e Alta Val Cedra Regional Park and the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines National Park, but also to lentic ecosystems in other apenninic watersheds in the frame of studies at regional scale. The site also includes more than 30 high altitude lakes, located in the Ossola and Sesia Valleys, Piedmont, at an altitude between 1900 and 2700 m a.s.l. Most of the lake catchments are of glacial origin and located in remote areas, not affected by direct anthropogenic forcing. Research activity is mainly focused on two lakes, Lake Paione Inferiore and Superiore, located in the Bognanco Valley, at 2002 and 2269 m a.s.l., respectively. Despite the small areas of the lakes, they are included as permanent research sites in long-term monitoring programme, both at national and international level. These lakes are subject to the deposition of atmospheric pollutants, transported with the air masses from source areas, and to the effect of climate change. High altitude lakes are particularly useful in the research studies on both biotic and abiotic processes, and their vulnerability make them early warning indicators of climate change. This site includes Lake Tovel located in the Parco Naturale Adamello Brenta (UNESCO site - Brenta Dolomites). Since 1980 the lake is part of the International Ramsar Convention for the protection of natural sites of particular interest. Tovel is famous for its Red Bay, site of past red summer blooms caused by the dinoflagellate alga Tovellia sanguinea. Because of its pseudokarst catchment, the lake has a very dynamic hydrology, that renders Tovel, notwithstanding it’s modest altitude, similar to a high altitude environment. Under this aspect, Lake Tovel is an ideal site to study biological and physical phenomena tied to climate change. The site includes also 14 lakes of the province of Bolzano located at altitudes ranging from 216 to 1642 m a.s.l. and of area ranging from 1 to 131 hectars, mostly of glacial origin and all in different ways exposed to human influence. Some of them have a high natural value due to their location and characteristics and are for this reason included in the lakes monitored under the European waterframe directive 2000/60/EC. The research activity is mainly focused on two lakes with particularly high naturalistic value (the lakes of Anterselva and Braies) and on a lake interesting for the follow up of the effects of the restauration measures undertaken to counteract its precarious situation (Small Lake of Monticolo).
General Characteristics, Purpose, History
Mountain lakes are among the most sensitive aquatic ecosystems to several anthropogenic stressors. Hence they can then be used as early-warning sites to study the effects of sevral drivers such as climate change, air pollution, invasive species and biodiversity loss. Mountain lakes also serve as multifunctional tools in the regulation of the water balance and may represent a secondary source of pollution to ecosystems at lower altitudes. Among the research themes at the site there are hydrology, water chemistry, eutrophication and acidification risk, plankton communities, population dynamics, trophic structure, seasonal succession, biodiversity, functional diversity, atmospheric deposition of pollutants, climate change.
Affiliation and Network Specific Information