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Andean Peruvian Lakes and Indicators of Climate Change


G. Patricia Johnston, IGERT trainee and PhD student at Kent State University, started an international multidisciplinary research group dedicated to the use of lakes as indicators of climate change, Andean Peruvian Lakes and Indicators of Climate Change (APLICC). Her effort was inspired by the research and expertise of IGERT co-PI, Craig Williamson. She has collaborators from Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina (UNALM), Lima, Peru as well as from Youngstown State University, Youngstown, Ohio. Other collaborators include government agencies such as the Peruvian National Institute of Meteorology and NGOs. Around the world, grassroots organizations such as the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON) has been using and monitoring lakes using sensors in order to understand and predict climate change. In addition, reports from Peruvian scientists and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) identified Andean countries as highly vulnerable to climate variations.

Although the focus of the research group is lakes, APLICC is also interested in major and global issues such as water sustainability, water quality, coastal wetlands and other aspects of the Amazonian Watershed. Patricia traveled again to Peru to identify the first site studies for APLICC’s research. The group selected a lakes around the coast and Andes of Peru as possible “indicators” lakes. However, because of the current need for water quality research in Lima, the Peruvian capital, APLICC decided to start investigations on an ongoing problem in coastal wetlands: anthropogenic disturbances and impacts on water quality. APLICC is currently seeking Peruvian government funds to conduct studies on coastal wetlands and water quality.

Address Goals

This effort meets the strategic goals in several ways. Perhaps most importantly there is a paucity of information on the impacts of global climate change on Andean lakes. This lack of information coupled with the EARS IGERT theme of using sensors in aquatic ecology and desire to provide international experiences and connections for our trainees makes this effort a great example of a trainee led effort with international implications. Another central element of the IGERT program is interdisciplinary training of doctoral students and development of future scientists, including those from underrepresented groups.