As the lowest point in the watershed, lakes serve as indicators or sentinels of change in the landscape. To better understand the role of lakes as sentinels, scientists are identifying the key lake variables that respond to changes in the watershed both seasonally and over the long term.  In the Global Change Limnology Laboratory, we are particularly interested in the role of water transparency in structuring lake ecosystems.

THE ROLE OF WATER TRANSPARENCY

Water transparency is one metric used to measure changes in the environment.  Transparency is regulated by many factors (dissolved vs particulate or organic vs inorganic, for example), and these can have wavelength-specific effects.  For example, dissolved organic matter (DOM) selectively absorbs UV wavelengths, whereas chlorophyll pigments in algae absorb in the photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) range, and particulates such as algae and inorganic matter scatter all wavelengths of light.

Learn more about UV and Water Transparency or our Current Research.