Freshwater ecosystems – lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands – cover less than 1% of Earth’s surface, yet they host extremely high biodiversity – almost 6% of all known species in the world.
There are 117 million lakes in the world. Most of them are freshwater and small – almost 80% of all are smaller than two football fields in size.
Blue Alpine Pearl
Stop the Time
Diving into Peace
Hugging the Sky
Blue Alpine PearlLake Nambrone, 2380m. Trentino Provence, Italy
Water of high alpine lakes is typically very clear. Low temperatures and nutrient levels (nitrates and phosphates) limit the growth of algae, resulting in high transparency and penetration of sunlight deep into the water column. Water molecules scatter short wavelengths of blue light, resulting in beautiful, deep blue shades.
Still SymmetryLake Tovel, 1178m. Trentino Province, Italy
Lake Tovel became famous for a "red water phenomenon" that was occurring during the summer until mid '60s. During these events, the water would turn red due to the high density of a microscopic alga Tovellia sanguinea. These "blooming events", when density of algae would increase several-fold than usual, were linked to increased nutrient loads caused by changes in land use and livestock management practices in the surroundings.
Stop the TimeLake Lamar, 714m. Trentino Provence, Italy
Green water color in lakes is usually associated with high concentration of algae, but in this nutrient-poor (oligotrophic), clear-water lake, the unique blue-green color is a result of the water chemistry, limestone geology and a reflection of the surrounding forest.
Deep GreenLake Tovel, 1178m. Trentino Provence, Italy
Environmental and biological data at lake Tovel are being collected over the last decades (a project managed by FEM Hydrobiology group), and the lake is now integrated into long-term monitoring programs, such as LTER, ILTER and GLEON. Long-term data allow researchers to understand the lake dynamics and predict responses related to changes in global environments.
Alpine EyeLake Ritort, 2071m. Trentino Provence, Italy
Clear, blue water is characteristic for oligotrophic lakes where algal growth in water is limited by low amount of available nutrients (nitrates and phosphates). Blue color relates to the pristine characters or these lake ecosystems, and a low human impact in the surrounding watershed.
Snowmelt BubbleLake Erdemolo, 2006m. Trentino Provence, Italy
Diving into PeaceLake Stechlin, 60m above sea level. Brandenburg, Germany
Flying HighLake Molveno. Trentino Provence, Italy
The ShelterBohinj Lake, 526m. Slovenia
Lunch TimeGroßer Müggelsee, 30m above sea level. Berlin, Germany
The research station at Großer Müggelsee operated by IGB collects long-term ecological data, and the current conditions are publicly available online. Großer Müggelsee is part of long-term monitoring programs such as GLEON and NetLake that allow researchers to better understand lake dynamics and predict responses to global changes.
I am very lucky to have a workplace right next to a beautiful lake. This is the view we get to enjoy during lunch breaks in summer.
Beach LineLake Tovel, 1178m. Trentino Province, Italy
Even though lake Tovel finds itself at a moderate altitude, it acts as a high-alpine lake. The water is very cold and clear with visibility almost to its bottom at 40m. As a typical clear-water alpine lake, it is characterized by a low amount of nutrients, but a high biodiversity of microscopic plankton.
Broken CoastSalt Lake Mir. Dugi otok, Kornati, Croatia
Dammed PowerPivsko jezero (Piva Lake), created by Hydropower Dam Mratinje on Piva River. Montenegro
Hydropower is neither "green" nor carbon-neutral energy source. The reservoirs created by dams emit large amounts of methane that strongly contribute to climate change. Furthermore, river damming harms wildlife and surrounding communities.
According to 2017 report by RiverWatch there are currently 700 dams operating at the Balkan peninsula. In addition, a tremendous amount of 2600 (mostly small) dams is planned to be constructed in the region in the upcoming years, many to be located in protected areas. This threatens biodiversity of Europe's last free-flowing, pristine and rich rivers, "the blue heart of Europe", such as Vjosa River in Albania. Read more about the ecological status, threats and financing of these projects here, and if you have a moment to sign a petition to prevent it from happening you can do so here.
The booming hydropower is not specific to Balkans, it is happening globally.
Frozen StillnessGroßer Müggelsee, 30m above sea level. Berlin, Germany
Sleep TimeKleiner Müggelsee, 30m above sea level. Berlin, Germany
Family CruiseBlack Lake, 1416m. Zabljak, Montenegro
Winter NapGroßer Müggelsee, 30m above sea level. Berlin, Germany
Blooming WaterLake Terlago, 456m. Trentino Provence, Italy
Liquid GlacierSteingletscher, 1865m. Switzerland
Hugging the SkyLake Tovel, 1178m. Trentino Provence, Italy
Postcard VillageLake Molveno, 864m. Trentino Provence, Italy