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The UK Lakes Portal

April 15, 2016
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Wastwater in the English Lake District. Image: Richard Walker | Flickr Creative Commons

Scientific data on over 40,000 UK lakes has been recently brought together into one open-access online portal.  The UK Lakes Portal is the result of over 10 years work coordinated by the Centre for Hydrology & Ecology, and provides a comprehensive overview of the geography and ecology of UK lakes.

The portal contains physical, environmental, and water chemistry data compiled from an extensive set of sources over many years and is integrated with the National Biodiversity Network hub for biodiversity data. In addition, new data is constantly being added by citizen scientists using iRecord.

The portal gives information on geography of each lake (depth, surface area, location, altitude) which is linked to data on its biodiversity and information on the wider catchment that feeds it.  The biodiversity data is part of a comprehensive new freshwater species list for the UK, which also includes information on non-native species.

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In linking each lake to its wider catchment, the portal provides a valuable tool for scientists and policy makers advancing landscape approaches to freshwater research and management. In addition, by presenting the information in a clear and engaging form, the portal is likely to be of use to anyone interested in freshwaters: a comprehensive and interactive ‘wiki’ for UK lakes, if you like.

Professor Rosie Hails, Director of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Science at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, said:

“The UK Lakes Portal is a product of excellent collaboration between the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, University College London and the UK conservation and environment agencies. This is one of many natural capital portals that we hope to develop in the future as an evidence base to support policy and decision making.”

Laurence Carvalho, Freshwater Ecologist at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (and a member of the MARS project) said:

“The UK Lakes Portal is a fantastic new resource for both scientists and the local citizen scientist interested in finding out more about their local lake and the biodiversity found within it. It has the potential to help us value the benefits we gain from UK lakes and answer questions such as how well connected is biodiversity across UK Lakes and how fast are invasive species spreading across UK freshwaters?”

Access the UK Lakes Portal here

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