Booming or blooming? The future of lakes in a changing world

Research introduction

Algal blooms turn lakes into toxic soups. Why are we unable to prevent them? In this Veni-project the interaction between society and environment is studied to find new solutions to prevent algal blooms. These solutions will help us to restore our lakes back to a healthy environment.

Research challenges

The objective of this study is to find optimal solutions to algal blooms in lakes by studying the feedback loop between environmental pressure and ecosystem state.

A novel model will be developed to study the feedback loop between environmental pressure from nutrient loading and the ecosystem state (turbid or clear). In this new model, lakes are simulated as part of a river network to account for the interaction between lakes through river networks.

In three steps, ecology, economy and social sciences are combined within one feedbackloop (see also image on the right):

  1. Study the effect of environmental pressure on the lake ecosystem state using a network of lakes.
  2. Study the effect of lake ecosystem state on the environmental pressure using economic optimization.
  3. Combine steps 1 and 2 to identify optimal solutions for nutrient reductions under different adaptation and mitigation strategies.