The mountainous Gossenköllesee is located in the Stubaier Alps at an elevation of 2,417 m. The research station on the shore of Gossenkoellesee provides an ideal platform to conduct research related to global change as shown in mountaineous regions. The former UNESCO Gossenköllesee Biosphere Reserve (the smallest in the world) was established in 1977 in order to guarantee long-term ecological research. In the year 2014 this label has been withdrawn due to the incompatibility with the Sevilla strategy to define biosphere reserves. It was defined with an area of 85ha ranging from 2.417 m (lake level) to 2,828 m above sea level (Pirchkogel) at 4714'N and 1101'E. The former Biosphere Reserve comprised the lake itself with the adjacent catchment area. It is characteristic for high alpine regions and has a largely intact natural environment. The centre of scientific interest is the long-term change of alpine lakes, streams and entire catchments. After twenty-five years, this is still an attractive and highly relevant subject for both ecological research and environmental protection. The lake is accessible all year round, lying within an hour’s walking distance from the small village of Kühtai, a well-known ski resort situated about 30 km west of Innsbruck that can be reached daily by car and public transport. Gossenköllesee and its catchment area is a centre of alpine research with a fully equipped research station at the shore of the lake that undertakes the collection (and to some extent analysis) of sensitive samples and maintains automated observation of climate and hydrology on site. Additionally, since 2016 we run an automatic weather based on a platform on the lake. A webcam provides online pictures. The lake and its catchment area lay entirely in the alpine zone, that is, above the present and possibly also the historical treeline. It harbours several alpine plant species such as rhododendron, dwarf shrubs and typical representatives of alpine grass heath. Approximately 10 per cent of the catchment area is covered by thin soils, mostly raw and podsolic soils with low pH. The surroundings are characterized by large rocks and moraines, which offer shelter to marmots, chamois, ermines, foxes and adders.
The main purpose for this site is research which is manifested by the high mountain research station on the shore of Gossenköllesee. Numerous master and PhD theses as well as Post-doc studies have been carried out at Gossenköllesee addressing topics like atmospheric deposition, snow chemistry, hydrology, water chemistry, catchment soils, lake ice cover, phytoplankton, zooplankton, zoobenthos, fish ecology, ecotoxicology, microbial food webs, paleolimnology and aquatic photobiology. Project funding comes from the Austrian Science Foundation FWF and the European Commission. Furthermore, it serves as education site for schools regarding alpine research.
Methoden & Expertise zur Forschungsinfrastruktur
Gossenköllesee and its catchment area is a centre of alpine research with a fully equipped research station at the shore of the lake that undertakes the collection (and to some extent analysis) of sensitive samples and maintains automated observation of climate and hydrology on site. Additionally, since 2016 we run an automatic weather based on a platform on the lake. A webcam provides online pictures.