Presentation of the Observatory

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The Observatory's purpose

Lac du BréventThe Observatory of high-altitude lakes focuses on around 20 Alpine lakes which make up the heart of the "Lacs Sentinelles" network. It aims to implement an effective system for the acquisition and consolidation of knowledge regarding these emblematic environments, reservoirs of biodiversity, both witnesses to the changes in local activities, and sentries to global changes.

The Observatory of high-altitude lakes also provides managers of aquatic environments (protected areas, national agencies, associations, operators, etc.) with tools and methodologies to follow and to qualify the lakes' evolutionary tendencies.

The knowledge gained is designed to be widely circulated to local stakeholders (area managers, regional authorities, angling federations, etc.), and should steer the management measures.

Management of lake data

A joint monitoring protocol is implemented at each of the Observatory's lakes.


Each on-site campaign is covered in a standardised mission report which supplies data to the "Lacs Sentinelles" network's database. The website, and the associated database, aim to collect, in a communal area, all of the data produced (metadata) on the Observatory's lakes, and to make it accessible to users.



The "raw" data produced during on-site campaigns is stored in the information system (IS) SOERE OLA (Long-term Observation and Experimentation System for Environmental Research) and administrated by INRA of Thonon. In order to be imported into the IS, the raw data is checked and validated by one of the network's scientists, then formatted according to the file format for specific exchanges.

The analysis of the results which come from these long-term monitoring projects aims to improve our knowledge regarding how high-altitude lakes function, and to evaluate their response to emerging issues (climate change, atmospheric inputs and human activities).

The exchange of information and data between the Observatory's core team (researchers and managers) as well the provision of this data to the general public, is also one of the Observatory's key objectives.

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