Ecology Under Lake Ice

Traditionally summer has been considered the “growing season” in seasonally ice-covered lakes; however, it is increasingly evident that winter is a time of diverse biological activity and physical processes that affect ecosystem functioning throughout the year. Pioneering research on sea-ice systems has disclosed that under-ice communities can contribute more than half of the total annual primary productivity in some regions, sustaining both pelagic and benthic organisms. Far less is known of dynamics in seasonally ice-covered lakes, but observed similarities suggest analogous importance of ice-associated biota and processes for lakes.

The emerging appreciation of the importance of under-ice production in marine systems and the rapidly changing ice phenologies of many lakes are stimulating increased interest in the under-ice ecology of lakes. We invite broad participation from the scientific community to engage in a collaborative synthesis of under-ice biological data from lakes.

Many of us have data on some aspects of the under-ice biology of particular lakes; bringing our data together will help to tell a larger story about the relative importance of winter processes and how lakes differ from winter to summer. This synthesis project will help answer basic questions about winter limnology, catalyze new research directions for participants and forge new global collaborations.

Participation may be both virtual and face-to-face in 2014 and 2015, with face-to-face meetings to take place at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) in Santa Barbara, CA. A portion of participant travel and lodging costs may be covered with help from the National Science Foundation (NSF DEB #1431428).

If you would like to contribute to this project, we want to hear from you!

Here’s how it works:

1. Please tell us that you are interested, by completing this short survey.

2. These survey results will help the Steering Committee to refine the project timeline – tentatively, we anticipate data collation in September-October 2014 and embarking on data synthesis, including at least one meeting, before the end of 2014.

3. The Steering Committee will review these expressions of interest in mid-July, and send you an email telling you more about the project timeline.

4. You can decide to remove yourself from this email list at any time, if you decide it’s not the right fit for you.

Our aim is to be as inclusive and transparent as possible. Many of you know that it can be difficult to engage in a large, global collaboration, particularly if most of the interactions are through virtual means! We are keenly aware of the potential obstacles, and committed to working hard to honor your contributions.

Please complete the survey, or contact s.hampton [at] (subject: Under%20ice%20ecology%20workshop) (Stephanie Hampton) or woo [at] (subject: Under%20ice%20ecology%20workshop) (Kara Woo) directly if you have questions or suggestions.


Steering committee:

Stephanie Hampton

Ted Ozersky

Chris Polashenski

Emily Stanley