Project ILES

The project "Illuminating lake ecosystems — ILES" aims at elucidating the ecological consequences of light pollution and the underlying mechanisms. The experiments are performed in the LakeLab, where skyglow is simulated in 10 enclosures using a specially developed light system.


ILES start page

Public relations contact

Dr. Martina Bauchrowitz
(Public relations LakeLab)

Phone: +49 (0)151 40 38 09 62

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ILES – Illuminating Lake Ecosystems


Light or shadow

How do the conditions set in this year's LakeLab experiment, i.e. skyglow and brownification, affect macrophytes and periphytons? This question is investigated by Ivana Trbojević from the University of Belgrade. The Serbian researcher spends a good four weeks at Lake Stechlin to strengthen the LakeLab team. ... [»]


Mixotrophic organisms - quite flexible

Ulrike Berninger, Professor of Ecology at the University of Salzburg in Austria, has long been interested in mixotrophic plankton. This refers to the small organisms floating in water that combine the properties of both zooplankton and phytoplankton. Depending on the environmental situation or individual requirements, these unicellular organisms can either take up food particles via phagocytosis or carry out photosynthesis using sunlight. Together with her bachelor student, Elisabeth Schlager, Ulrike Berninger is investigating in this year's LakeLab experiment whether the mixotrophic plankton is influenced by the altered light conditions in the enclosures. ... [»]


It is impossible to decline such a summer job

When the four students of the TU Berlin heard that IGB would be looking for student assistants for this year's experiment at the LakeLab, they soon became alert. From mid-July to mid-October, Natascha Bürks-Arndt, Tobi Block, Paul Stolz and Markus Zömisch are now joining the LakeLab team. ... [»]


Introduction of fish into the LakeLab

Fish are an important element in the food web of lakes. This also applies to the experimental enclosures of the LakeLab. However, in this case, the number of fish must be controlled so that the results from the individual cylinders can be compared with each other. Because fish from the lake repeatedly jump into the enclosures, all fish must first be removed with nets from the cylinders before starting a new experiment. Today, 5 small perch were released into each enclosure for this year's LakeLab experiment. The LakeLab team got help from Milan Riha and Jan Hlavac, fish experts from the Czech Republic. ... [»]


LakeLab experiment 2018 started

The summer experiment at the LakeLab was started today traditionally with a hypolimnic sparkling wine. More than 70 researchers from 16 different nations will participate in the large-scale experiment this year. They examine how a changed light regime affects the organisms in the lake. ... [»]


LakeLab Summer Experiment 2018

As energy supplier and stimulus of the internal clock, light is of fundamental importance to plants and animals. This also applies to fish and microscopic organisms in lakes. Like other species, they have adapted to the day-night rhythm during evolution. But what happens if a lake is illuminated by artificial lighting at night, or if not enough light penetrates into the water during the day? These questions are examined during this year's summer experiment at the Lake Lab. ... [»]


Knowable Magazine reports on the LakeLab

Nocturnal light pollution is currently one of the hottest topics in ecological research. Now, Knowable Magazine, the digital publication of the renowned journal Annual Reviews, reports in a detailed article about the various research advances on the topic. It also describes the experiments on the effects of skyglow at the LakeLab. ... [»]


Nature reports on the LakeLab

For her investigations on the topic of light pollution, the British journalist Aisling Irwin also came to Berlin and Lake Stechlin. She wanted to know more about the IGB research project "Illuminating Lake Ecosystems - ILES" taking place at the LakeLab. It examines how nighttime skyglow affects lakes and aquatic organisms. Together with the co-leaders of ILES, Mark Gessner and Franz Hölker, Aisling Irwin discussed the issue. Now her article has been published in the renowned journal Nature. ... [»]


From Costa del Sol to Lake Stechlin

In addition to German and English, Spanish is the most frequently used language at the LakeLab this year. Six Spanish guests, including Professor Maria Segovia Azcorra and her two doctoral students Charo Lorenzo Garrido and Victor Vazquez Manzanares from the University of Malaga, take part in this year's LakeLab experiment on the effects of light pollution. Their special research field is the stress physiology of phytoplankton in marine systems however this summer the three "Málagueños" exchanged the Mediterranean Sea against Lake Stechlin. ... [»]


Who invented it?

With chocolate, Lucerne Birewegge* and a self-developed respiration system in his luggage, Dany Steiner, technician at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology – Eawag, arrived at Lake Stechlin. His main objectives: To break out from the usual work routine and get insights into the operation of another research institute and at the same time to implement his technique of respiration measurements at IGB Stechlin. By the end of August, he was successfully involved for three weeks with the LakeLab experiment on light pollution before he returned with many new impressions to Lake Lucerne. ... [»]


At night all researchers are grey

Throughout the LakeLab experiment 2016 samples are regularly taken during day and night. For example, the team of IGB scientist Gabriel Singer gets out once a week shortly before dawn. They focus on aquatic bacteria which are responsible for the decomposition of organic material. ... [»]


Searching the darkness – Impact of light pollution is tested at one of Germany’s darkest regions

Nights which are almost as dark as before the introduction of the electric lighting system can still be experienced at Lake Stechlin in the north of Brandenburg. This message is the result of a study recently published by the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB). Not only hobby astronomers but also the scientists will benefit from these good conditions. They will examine the impact of increasing light pollution on lakes and aquatic organisms at the IGB LakeLab, a floating research platform in Lake Stechlin. The experiment that starts today focuses on skyglow. ... [»]


Fish released into the LakeLab

In this year's LakeLab experiment, PhD student Franziska Kupprat studies how fish respond to light pollution. As an important member in the food web of lakes these animals may not lack in the enclosures. However, but it must be assured that the enclosures contain the same number and weight class of fish. Therefore eight European perches have been released today into each of the 15 participating enclosures. ... [»]


The Stechlin swing

No, we are not talking about a new technology for skiing or dancing. With the Stechlin Swing algal growth on the enclosure walls should be decreased. It is composed of large plastic sheets of 8 x 8 meters in size, which cover the inner walls of the enclosures. Last week, 60 Stechlin Swings were constructed and installed. ... [»]


Illumination lake ecosystems

The start of this year's LakeLab experiment is getting closer. For the preparations the team is working full tilt. The project "Illumination lake ecosystems – ILES" aims at elucidating how light pollution affects lakes and aquatic organisms. It focuses on the diffuse illumination of the night sky caused by artificial light, the so-called skyglow. For the experiments, physicist Andreas Jechow and his team developed a special lighting system. Two rings that are equipped with LED lights will be installed in 15 of the 24 enclosures in order to simulate skyglow. At Lake Stechlinsee the effects of light pollution can be particularly well explored, since this is one of the darkest places in Germany and thus offers excellent reference conditions. ... [»]