Toolik Lake is a low productivity freshwater lake located in North Alaska (USA), 130 miles south of Prudhoe on the North Coast. It is a 150 ha, relatively deep (max = 25 m, mean = 7 m) kettle lake. It is oligotrophic with an annual production of 12 g C m-2, with surface temperatures up to 18 degrees C. It is ice-free from July through September. Ice cover, which may reach 1.4 m thick, forms in early October. The lake first stratifies in July when the thermocline is located at 5 m. By early August, the thermocline depth is at 7 m and the lake mixes in late August. The lake is fairly clear with summer Secchi disk readings around 6-7 m. Click here for animals redorded to date and more on the biology and chemistry of this site.
Research at Lake Toolik is made possible by a field station which acts as the base for up to 100 scientists. The field station is managed by the Institute for Arctic Biology of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. It provides infrastructure to facilitate the study of Actic biology and as such is the focus of the Arctic Long Term Ecological Research Site, involving projects of the the Ecosystems Center of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole. The work carried out at Toolik is described on their website.
The survey of micro-organisms reported on this web site was supported by the following projects being carried out at the Ecosystems Center (MBL): NSF-LExEn OPP-9714327 Ecology of Microbial Systems in Extreme Environments: The Role of Nanoflagellates in Cold and Nutrient-Poor Arctic Freshwaters. NSF-DEB 9810222 The Arctic LTER Project: The Future Characteristics of Arctic Communities, Ecosystems, and Landscapes. NSF-OPP 9911278 Aquatic Ecosystem Responses to Changes in the Environment of an Arctic Drainage Basin Image provided by Ecosystems Center, MBL. Image copyright: Ecosystems Center (MBL), image used under license.