We are facing global challenges such as climate change, land-use alteration, biodiversity loss, and the formation of novel ecosystems and communities. To understand the causes and consequences requires support from global monitoring programs and shared research infrastructure. Biological field stations (BFS) constitute a global network for long-term environmental monitoring and research, education, and public information. They offer a unique opportunity to improve our understanding on pressing environmental and social challenges and therefore deserve utmost support to fulfill their pivotal role at the regional and the global scales.
The LakeLab in Lake Stechlin near Berlin, Germany, is a large experimental setup of the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) designed to study climate change effects on lakes (www.lake-lab.de).
Based on a comprehensive inventory, 1268 contemporary BFS have been identified, located in 120 countries. They occur in all biomes and cover terrestrial, freshwater and marine systems, with the majority situated in protected areas. In order to make this information accessible to all, a new database has been launched recently. It is integrated in the Freshwater Information Platform.
L. Tydecks, V. Bremerich, I. Jentschke, G. Likens, K. Tockner (accepted): Biological Field Stations – a Global Infrastructure for Research, Education, and Public Engagement. BioScience