Jean Philippe Jenny, Université Savoie Mont Blanc
Orlane Anneville, Université Savoie Mont Blanc
Fabien Arnaud, Université Savoie Mont Blanc
Yoann Baulaz, Université Savoie Mont Blanc
Damien Bouffard, Eawag - Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology
Isabelle Domaizon, Université Savoie Mont Blanc
Serghei A. Bocaniov, University of Waterloo
Nathalie Chèvre, Université de Lausanne (UNIL)
Maria Dittrich, University of Toronto
Jean Marcel Dorioz, Université Savoie Mont Blanc
Erin S. Dunlop, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
Gaël Dur, National University Corporation Shizuoka University
Jean Guillard, Université Savoie Mont Blanc
Thibault Guinaldo, Université Fédérale Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées
Stéphan Jacquet, Université Savoie Mont Blanc
Aurélien Jamoneau, Ecosystèmes Aquatiques et Changements Globaux
Zobia Jawed, McMaster University, Faculty of Engineering
Erik Jeppesen, Aarhus Universitet
Gail Krantzberg, McMaster University, Faculty of Engineering
John Lenters, Michigan Technological UniversityFollow
Barbara Leoni, University of Milano - Bicocca
Michel Meybeck, Sorbonne Universite
Nava, University of Milano - Bicocca
Tiina Nõges, Estonian University of Life Sciences
Peeter Nõges, Estonian University of Life Sciences
Martina Patelli, University of Milano - Bicocca
Victoria Pebbles, Great Lakes Commission
Marie-Elodie Perga, University of Lausanne
Serena Rasconia, Université Savoie Mont Blanc
Carl R. Ruetz III, Grand Valley State University
Lars Rudstam, Cornell University
Nico Salmaso, Fondazione Edmund Mach
Sharma Sapna, York University
Dietmar Straile, University of Konstanz
Olga Tammeorg, Estonian University of Life Sciences
Michael R. Twiss, Clarkson University
Donald G. Uzarski, Central Michigan University
Anne-Mari Ventelä, Pyhäjärvi Institute
Warwick F. Vincent, Universite Laval
Steven W. Wilhelm, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Sten-Åke Wängberg, University of Gothenburg
Gesa A. Weyhenmeyer, Uppsala University

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Great Lakes Research Center


Large lakes of the world are habitats for diverse species, including endemic taxa, and are valuable resources that provide humanity with many ecosystem services. They are also sentinels of global and local change, and recent studies in limnology and paleolimnology have demonstrated disturbing evidence of their collective degradation in terms of depletion of resources (water and food), rapid warming and loss of ice, destruction of habitats and ecosystems, loss of species, and accelerating pollution. Large lakes are particularly exposed to anthropogenic and climatic stressors. The Second Warning to Humanity provides a framework to assess the dangers now threatening the world's large lake ecosystems and to evaluate pathways of sustainable development that are more respectful of their ongoing provision of services. Here we review current and emerging threats to the large lakes of the world, including iconic examples of lake management failures and successes, from which we identify priorities and approaches for future conservation efforts. The review underscores the extent of lake resource degradation, which is a result of cumulative perturbation through time by long-term human impacts combined with other emerging stressors. Decades of degradation of large lakes have resulted in major challenges for restoration and management and a legacy of ecological and economic costs for future generations. Large lakes will require more intense conservation efforts in a warmer, increasingly populated world to achieve sustainable, high-quality waters. This Warning to Humanity is also an opportunity to highlight the value of a long-term lake observatory network to monitor and report on environmental changes in large lake ecosystems.

Publisher's Statement

© 2020. The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of International Association for Great Lakes Research. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (

Publication Title

Journal of Great Lakes Research


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