On the 14th of August, 2015 an event in the city of Alūksne took place and engaged the wider public in Alūksne Lake ecosystem research. Locals, municipality representatives and other stakeholders participated in research workshops where they learnt about the lake’s food chain and the negative impacts of climate change on the lake’s ecosystem.
Research in Alūksne Lake began in 2014. Research results from the previous year indicate that the overall ecological condition of the lake is good. However, the rapid owergrowth of the part of the lake "Iekšezers" can result in a decrease of the lake's health. In 2015, a holistic survey on the impacts of climate change on the lake ecosystem and the consequences of blue-green algae blooming was added to the existing research activities, thereby creating the project CyCLE. Particular focus is devoted to parameters such as ecosystem’s food chain physical-chemical characteristics and the production and accumulation of blue-green algae toxins in the food chain. The survey is carried out by highly qualified scientists and researchers from the Institute for Environmental Solutions and Latvian Institute of Aquatic Ecology.
During the Project CyCLE workshops, attendees were introduced to a variety of methods that scientists have been using for analysis of the lake’s food chain. Furthermore, not only could they quiz the scientists on climate change and intensive algae blooming, but also engage in the practical research processes. Participants alongside scientists collected fish samples, sorted them and measured and analysed the content of fish stomachs. Scientists also demonstrated shellfish ability to filter the lake’s water and guests could observe Alūksne Lake’s zooplankton and phytoplankton through a microscope.
The Project CyCLE will be carried out in two lakes in Latvia – the Alūksne Lake and Lake Burtnieks. To enhance society’s understanding about the impact of climate change on these lakes, the research results will be publicly available on the Project website and in municipality offices. The Project is financially supported by the European Economic Area (EEA) financial mechanism and co-financed by the Institute for Environmental Solutions and the Latvian Institute of Aquatic Ecology.