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Lake Mendota, Wisconsin, USA

Main Contributors:

Reinette (Oonsie) Biggs

Other Contributors:


Lake Mendota is located in south central Wisconsin in the Upper Rock Watershed. It has been called the most studied lake in the world and has been studied since the 1880’s. Cyanobacterial blooms have been reported on Lake Mendota as early as 1976 with a very severe bloom in the spring of 1990. Many efforts have been made to reduce the frequency of harmful algal blooms on Lake Mendota.

Type of regime shift

Ecosystem type

  • Freshwater lakes & rivers

Land uses

  • Urban
  • Large-scale commercial crop cultivation

Spatial scale of the case study

  • Local/landscape (e.g. lake, catchment, community)

Continent or Ocean

  • North America


  • Wisconsin


  • United States

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Key References

  1. Carpenter SR, et al. 2006. Understanding regional change: comparison of two lake districts. BioScience
  2. Carpenter SR, Lathrop RC, Nowak P, Bennett EM, Reed T, Soranno PA. 2006b. The ongoing experiment: Restoration of Lake Mendota and its watershed. In Magnuson JJ, Kratz TK, Benson BJ, eds. Long-term dynamics of lakes in the landscape: Long-term ecological research on north temperate lakes. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
  3. Carpenter SR. 2003. Regime shifts in lake ecosystems: pattern and variation. Oldendorf/Luhe, Germany: International Ecology Institute.


Reinette (Oonsie) Biggs. Lake Mendota, Wisconsin, USA. In: Regime Shifts Database, Last revised 2012-03-17 19:16:32 GMT.
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