Objectives

The LACEN project aims to establish a pilot network of sentinel high mountain lakes for global change in the national parks of Sierra Nevada (PNSN) and Aigüestortes i Estanh de Sant Maurici (PNAESM) that can be extended to other geographic locations regionally. Based on the potential results to be obtained it is proposed to favor the information exchange with other national and international networks of sentinel lakes and coordinate activities to participate in the elaboration of proposals that help to improve the protection and management plans for high mountain lakes. he specific goal of this project is to prove the suitability of the chosen lakes as sentinels, i.e. to verify they are capable of capturing both the climatic signal as well as the rapid response of the proxies’ set. This information could be then used by the parks’ managers for decision making and the establishment of general acting lines in facing the global change. The aims will be met through 3 subprojects (Climate, Limnology and Paleolimnology). he specific goal of this project is to prove the suitability of the chosen lakes as sentinels, i.e. to verify they are capable of capturing both the climatic signal as well as the rapid response of the proxies’ set. This information could be then used by the parks’ managers for decision making and the establishment of general acting lines in facing the global change. The aims will be met through 3 subprojects (Climate, Limnology and Paleolimnology).

The subproject Climate is aimed to develop databases of daily temperature and precipitation quality-controlled and homogeneous that will allow to analyse and characterize the climatic evolution and variability during the instrumental period, as well as to determine the present temperature and precipitation trends in the PNSN and PNAESM regions. The presence of meteorological stations recently set situated in some of the highest mountain areas of the Iberian Peninsula will permit the evaluation of the climatic signal at the mountains’ summits and to test if the variability and intensity of the signal coincides in magnitude and sign with the regional signals located below 1000 m asl. In addition, we will explore the suitability and applicability of the gridded databases to define the climatic evolution in those mountain zones with low density of monitoring data present in other national parks. These temporal and spatial climatic signals will be used to calibrate and analyse the palaeo and environmental proxies obtained in the lacustrine systems thanks to the other two subprojects that form the present proposal, aimed to develop monitoring tools for global change in those national parks, especially at high elevations.

The subproject Limnology aims to develop a classification of the lacustrine systems based on their sensitivity to several drivers of global change: climate change (especially changes in the water volume during summer drought) and livestock and/or touristic uses of the catchment. Chlorophyll-a changes will be also measured as summary variable of the lake trophic status, through remote sensors obtaining specific algorithms in each park for future use. Moreover, given the synergy between neoecology and palaeoecology we will explore (or compile the existing data) the present-day ecological study of the chosen systems for the interpretation of the main palaeoecological project.

The subproject Paleolimnogy will be focused on reconstructing prior human influence (Neolithic) and at the highest resolution possible, the evolution of the main lake proxies of environmental change chosen in both National Parks in relation to climate and land-use history of the catchment. For doing so, palaeoecological and sedimentological techniques will be applied to lacustrine sediments followed by analytical and statistical approaches. Such approach will help to identify and rank the effect of the dominant local stressors and the effect of the climate change occurred in the pelagic, benthonic and littoral habitats, as the response may differ. Strategic information will be supplied to define a ecological baseline specific for each lake system aimed to environmental management, using actual references such as the Water Framework Directive among others.