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A lake as a microcosm: reflections on developments in aquatic ecology

  • Lars-Anders Hansson
  • Jakob Brodersen
  • Ben Chapman
  • Mattias Ekvall
  • Anders Hargeby
  • Kaj Hulthén
  • Alice Nicolle
  • Anders Nilsson
  • Christian Skov
  • Christer Brönmark
Publishing year: 2013
Language: English
Pages: 125-135
Publication/Series: Aquatic Ecology
Volume: 47
Issue: 2
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Springer

Abstract english

In the present study, we aim at relating Forbes' remarkable paper on "The lake as a microcosm", published 125 years ago, to the present status of knowledge in our own research group. Hence, we relate the observations Forbes made to our own microcosm, Lake Krankesjon in southern Sweden, that has been intensively studied by several research groups for more than three decades. Specifically, we focus on the question: Have we made any significant progress or did Forbes and colleagues blaze the trail through the unknown wilderness and we are mainly paving that intellectual road? We conclude that lakes are more isolated than many other biomes, but have, indeed, many extensions, for example, input from the catchment, fishing and fish migration. We also conclude that irrespective of whether lakes should be viewed as microcosms or not, the paper by Forbes has been exceptionally influential and still is, especially since it touches upon almost all aspects of the lake ecosystem, from individual behaviour to food web interactions and environmental issues. Therefore, there is no doubt that even if 125 years have passed, Forbes' paper still is a source of inspiration and deserves to be read. Hence, although aquatic ecology has made considerable progress over the latest century, Forbes might be viewed as one of the major pioneers and visionary scientists of limnology.


  • Ecology
  • Forbes
  • Microcosm
  • Trophic cascade
  • Zooplankton
  • Fish
  • Food web


  • Centre for Animal Movement Research
  • ISSN: 1386-2588
Lars-Anders Hansson
E-mail: lars-anders [dot] hansson [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se


Aquatic ecology

+46 46 222 41 69






Research group

Aquatic Ecology

Other projects I´m involved in

Doctoral students and postdocs

PhD students, main supervisor

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