NIOO: ‘Citizen scientists’ needed for lakewater campaign

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Is there a temperature difference between a Turkish lake and an Irish lake? Do leaves break down faster in a lake in Serbia or in Sweden? And are Italian lakes the cleanest in the whole of Europe?


Aquatic Knowledge Centre Wageningen (AKWA) is launching a new campaign this summer, together with ten scientists and ten citizens from around Europe, to measure key water quality parameters in 28 European lakes.

‘Citizen scientists’ across the continent are invited to participate in the campaign, which is part of the European Union’s ESSEM COST Action ES1201Networking Lake Observatories in Europe (NETLAKE).

Tea bags

‘We’ll place temperature sensors, and measure transparency and water colour, to establish a baseline for the participating lakes”, explains Laura Seelen from AKWA. 

“In addition, we’ll measure decomposition by determining the breakdown of tea. Yes, tea bags will be placed in all lakes!”

Another problem the project is trying to tackle is plastic pollution. “Because the plastic problem is increasing rapidly, we will also sample for microplastics. For most lakes, this will be the first time anyone has looked at this aspect.”

Dutch lakes

In the Netherlands, two lakes will participate in this campaign, both within a 100km radius of NIOO.

Lake Vinkeveen and Lake Haarlemmermeerse Bos both have an active diving club that is working with AKWA’s researchers to complete a full set of measurements.

The first first tea bags and temperature loggers in the two Dutch lakes are already in place!

How to join

If you’re interested in joining the campaign as a ‘citizen scientist’, please go to the Netlake Citizen Science webpage.

You’ll find detailed instructions on how to perform and upload your own observations using such simple tools as tea bags and old CDs. There are also .pdfs for you to download with guidelines and protocols.

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