Our changing environment


Our Lakes’ Health: past, present and future

Environment and Climate

Delving deep into the secrets preserved under our nation’s lakes, the Lakes380 project has captured the imagination of communities, iwi and scientists.

The project, formally known as “Our Lakes’ Health: past, present and future”, is co-led by GNS Science and the Cawthron Institute.

Scientists are taking water, surface sediment and sediment cores from around 10 per cent of Aotearoa New Zealand’s 3,800 lakes, and analysing the material contained in these samples.

Combined with local community knowledge and mātauranga Māori, the sediment cores tell a story of how our environment responded to past events – and how together we can restore and protect the lakes for generations to come.

“Each sediment core delivers hundreds, even thousands of years of material that’s settled at the bottom of lakes,”
project co-leader Marcus Vandergoes from GNS Science says.

Image caption: Lakes380 Lake Dispute, Otago. Credit: Lloyd Homer

“When the cores are split and analysed, we can see changes to the environment caused by volcanic eruptions, human habitation and changing land use.”

The Endeavour-funded project is now wrapping up fieldwork and moving into an analysis phase.

We thought the time was right to share some of the spectacular work Lakes380 has done, showcasing Aotearoa’s beautiful and diverse lakes:

The Lakes380 research programme is funded by an Endeavour grant from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Click here for a full list of our partners.

Image caption (first): Lakes380 Lake Lochnager, Otago. Credit: Adam Martin, GNS Science

Image caption (second): Lakes380 Lake Dispute, Otago. Credit: Lloyd Homer

Image caption (top): Lakes380 Lake Lochnager, Otago. Credit: Adam Martin, GNS Science

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