Lake Tahoe Research

The long-term data set collected on the Lake Tahoe ecosystem by the University of California, Davis, and its research collaborators is an invaluable tool for understanding ecosystem function and change. Our research summarizes how natural variability, long term change, and human activity have affected the lake's clarity, physics, chemistry, and biology. Lake Tahoe is unique, the forces and processes that shape it are the same as those acting in all natural ecosystems. As such, Lake Tahoe is an analog for other systems both in western U.S. and worldwide.

Related Research Projects

REAL TIME MONITORING OF LAKE TAHOE

A vertical array of temperature, pressure, and dissolved oxygen measuring instruments is installed at a depth of 130 meters off the west shore of Lake Tahoe, adjacent to...more

CLARITY MONITORING

Every week, a measurement of lake clarity is taken using a 10" diameter Secchi disk; from either a station in the center of the lake (MLTP) or from the long term Index station...more

LAKE MONITORING

There are many factors influencing the clarity and ecology of Lake Tahoe. Temperature, light transparency, and the nutrient concentrations available for algae growth all effect...more

MEASURING THE BLUENESS OF LAKE TAHOE

Most people are familiar with the slogan "Keep Tahoe Blue" yet the goal for Lake Tahoe has always been phrased in terms of clarity rather than color. But by using hyperspectral...more

REMOTE SENSING OF THE NEARSHORE

The scope of this project aims to characterize underwater light distribution and its controlling factors in Lake Tahoe and other lakes in Sierra Nevada both by field observations...more

ASIAN CLAMS IN EMERALD BAY

Low Densities of non-native Asian clams were discovered on the sandy sill entrance of Emerald Bay in 2010. Asian clams compete with native species for resources and...more

ZOOPLANKTON IN LAKE TAHOE

Zooplankton are tiny creatures that live in bodies of water and play an important role in the food chain by effecting organisms both above (fish) and below (algae) them through...more

METEROLOGY OF LAKE TAHOE

Knowing the meterology that drives motions and heat exchange in a lake is an essential component of understanding its behavior. Since the 1990's, TERC has been installing...more

PERIPHYTON MONITORING

Researchers from TERC monitor levels of attached algae (periphyton) growth around the lake five times per year. Periphyton is collected from submerged rocks at 9 routine sites while snorkeling...more

THREE-DIMENSIONAL MODELING OF LAKE TAHOE

Three-dimensional computer models allow researchers to study the complex motions that take place within a lake, and to play "what-if" scenarios to better understand the impacts of changing conditions. In recent years, our...more

DYNAMICS OF THE SURFACE OF LAKE TAHOE

Even in calm conditions, when Lake Tahoe appears placid and serene, there is a great deal of energy in transit between the atmosphere and the water surface. Using data from four remote surface buoys on Lake Tahoe, we are seeking...more

DEEP LAKE OXYGEN

Close to the deepest part of Lake Tahoe, a set of temperature sensors and a dissolved oxygen sensor are quietly gathering data that will give us vital information on how the water quality in Lake Tahoe will change in the coming decade...more

WATER CURRENT DRIFTERS

Measuring the water current at a single point provides valuable data – but only at that point. What is often important to know is how water moves all around the lake, and where it would carry pollutants or invasive species once they were...more

MODELING LAKE CLARITY

Dynamic Lake Model with Water Quality (DLM-WQ) includes a physical process based one-dimensional hydrodynamic model and newly developed sub-modules to simulate turbulent diffusion transfer, fine particle dynamics, dissolved oxygen, phytoplankton, zooplankton, nutrients...more

PHYTOPLANKTON IN LAKE TAHOE

Phytoplankton are photosynthetic plant cells which spend their life cycle in the pelagic.  Mostly single cells, and visible microscopically, these plants are central to understanding any biological ecosystems in the lake.  As the primary producers...more

MODELING CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS

To evaluate the impacts of continued climate change on the Lake Tahoe thermal properties, water level, internal nutrient loading, nutrient cycling, aquatic ecosystem, and other important features of lake limnology...more

NUTRIENTS IN LAKE TAHOE

Nutrients in a lake are a suite of chemical compounds used by algae (mini lake plants).  These chemicals are natural fertilizers for the algae that are required for growth along with photosynthesis (light + carbon dioxide + water)...more