Loch Leven - United Kingdom

Basic Information
Site Name
Loch Leven
Short name
United Kingdom
Site Manager
Operating Organisation
Site Description
UK ECN site. Loch Leven is the largest, shallow, relatively nutrient-rich, lowland loch (lake) in Scotland. It lies at an altitude of 107m. It has a surface area of 13.3km2 and has a mean depth of 3.9m. The Loch Leven catchment covers 145 km2, consisting mainly of arable crops and improved pasture. Loch Leven is particularly renowned for its large numbers of migratory, breeding and overwintering waterfowl and its world famous brown trout fishery. Although the overall quality of the site is good, the loch has suffered from periodic cyanobacterial (‘blue-green algal’) blooms for many years. These have occurred, largely, as a result of substantial amounts of phosphorus entering the loch, combined with a relatively low flushing rate and a favourable light-climate.
Last modified
2020-03-27 12:03:23
General Characteristics, Purpose, History
Site Status
Year Established
Lake monitoring and research. Since the mid-1960s Loch Leven has been the focus of a long-term monitoring programme. Current research is focussed primarily on whether Loch Leven is showing signs of ecological recovery from eutrophication pressures following reductions in external loadings of phosphorus, the main limiting nutrient. Recent evidence suggests that although there have been encouraging signs of improvement in the ecology of the loch, a sustained recovery has yet to occur. The site has also been a focus site for the EU funded OpenNESS project that aimed to link water quality to ecosystem service delivery, and for the EU funded MARS project that investigated the impacts of multiple drivers (nutrients, flushing rate and temperature) on water quality.
Loch Leven became an ECN freshwater site in 1994. However, the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) and its various predecessor bodies have been monitoring the lake since the mid 1960s and have built up long-term data sets of various biological, chemical and hydrological parameters. As a result, Loch Leven has become an invaluable research resource for addressing issues such as eutrophication and climate change. Since the 1970s, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and other agencies have been involved in an action programme to improve the ecology and water quality of Loch Leven. The site was a key study lake in the Euro-limpacs EU Framework 6 project, part of which aimed to unravel the combined effects of climate change and nutrient enrichment on ecological response in European lakes.The site is also a focus site for the EU funded OpenNESS project, which aims to link water quality to ecosystem service delivery, and for the EU funded MARS project, which is investigating the impacts of multiple drivers (nutrients, flushing rate and temperature) on water quality.
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Elevation (max)
Affiliation and Network Specific Information
ILTERThis site is a verified "ILTER" member.
LTER EuropeThis site is a verified "LTER Europe" member.
UK ECN (LTER_EU_UK_006)This site is a verified "UK ECN" member.

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