High-altitude watersheds


High-altitude lakes are not only subject to exacerbated atmospheric warming but also highly exposed to intense episodic weather events. The future of these ecosystems under climate change might not be appropriately forecasted by only climate change trends, i.e., warming, if episodic events and hydrological changes have the potential to deflect the seasonal trajectory of crucial physical and metabolic lake characteristics.

We combine paleo-ecology, low- and high frequency surveys and modeling to explore how hydrological changes due to climate change or hydropower affect the biogeochemistry of high-altitude lakes and reservoirs.


  • M.E Perga, C. Minaudo, T. Doda F. Arthaud, H. Beria, H.E. Chmiel, N. Escoffier, T. Lambert, R. Napolleoni, B. Obrador, P. Perolo, J. Rüegg, H.N. Ulloa, D. Bouffard (2023). Near-bed stratification controls bottom hypoxia in ice-covered alpine lakes. Limnology and Oceanography. https://doi.org/10.1002/lno.12341

  • Del Siro, C., Scapozza, C., Perga, M.-E., Lambiel, C. (2023) Investigating the origin of solutes in rock glacier springs in the Swiss Alps: A conceptual model. Frontiers in Earth Science 11.
  • Frossard, V., Sabatier, P., Bruel, R. … .Perga ME (2023) Intense touristic activities exceed climate change to shape aquatic communities in a mountain lake. Aquat Sci 85, 71 . https://doi.org/10.1007/s00027-023-00968-6
  • Perga M-E, Bruel R, Rodriguez L, Guénand Y, Bouffard D (2018) Storm impacts on alpine lakes: Antecedent weather conditions matter more than the event intensity. Global Change Biology, 24, 5004-5016.
  • Guénand, Y., M.-E. Perga, V. Chanudet and D. Bouffard (2020). “Hydropower operations modulate sensitivity to meteorological forcing in a high altitude reservoir.” Aquatic Sciences 82(3): 60.
  • Herr, I. , Bouffard D., Perga ME (2022) Impact of inflow on Mountain lake heatfluxes (Poster at SIL 2022, Berlin)
  • The freshwater continuum project of Dr Rüegg