Lake Issyk-Kul Environmental Laboratory

Ecosystems of large alpine lakes possess several fundamental features making their investigation of vital importance for understanding the current global response to climate change. Located in mountain areas, which are especially sensitive to variations of the major climatic drivers, enclosed lakes store the climatic signal in their deeper layers and filter out the shorter-term synoptic to interannual variations due to the high thermal inertia. Endorheic (terminal) lakes are particularly sensitive to climate change and regional anthropogenic impact: having no outflows, terminal lakes reflect changes of the hydrological budget accumulated over their entire catchment areas. The fragility of the low-biodiversity of oligotrophic lakes and their great value in terms of ecosystem service and regional water budget require focused research on physical-biological interactions in lakes and their reaction to anthropogenic activity and climate drivers. Central Asia is the largest endorheic (not connected to any ocean) region of the world. The region is covered by many large terminal lakes, having no outflow. Issyk-Kul - the 6th deepest (max depth ~700 m) lake worldwide and the largest (volume 1700km3) high-altitude lake - is a unique natural object with a high research potential in earth

The major aim of the LILA project is to establish a jointly maintained Kyrgyz-German environmental research and education laboratory at the shore of one of the largest alpine clear-water lakes, i.e. Issyk-Kul, as a base for:

  • continuous monitoring of the water quality and main ecological parameters of Issyk-Kul
  • education and training of under -and postgraduates in environmental research
  • performing international research on climate change, high-altitude hydrology, limnology, and ecology of alpine aquatic systems
  • providing an urgently needed research station as a platform for future national and international research projects

Short Profile


(Dept. 1) Ecohydrology and Biogeochemistry
(Dept. 3) Plankton and Microbial Ecology
Research Domain
Dimensions of Complexity of Aquatic Systems
Funded by



Prof. Salmor Alymkulov, Kyrgyz State Technical University (the Razzakov University)

Prof. Tolobek Abdyrachmanov, Kyrgyz State University (the Arabaev University)

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