Lake Monowai is a deep glacial lake in the Fjordland National Park, South Island Aotearoa New Zealand. We visited it in February 2020 with Mortimer Werther (PhD student, University of Stirling, UK) and Dilshan da Silva (MSc student, University of Waikato). Footage and video creation by Dilshan da Silva.

About the project

Remote lakes are hard to monitor for pollution and toxic algae. Using satellites, we can conduct health checks on lakes no matter where they are.

This field trip was conducted under the 'Eye on Lakes' research project led by a team from Waikato University. Eye on lakes is developing a method to detect cyanobacteria blooms in New Zealand's lakes using satellite sensors. Under this project, we are collecting data from different types of lakes to calibrate our model.  Evangelos Spyrakos, a collaborator from the University of Stirling in Scotland, is particularly interested in blue lakes, i.e. those that are low in nutrients and have little algae. 

 

Aotearoa New Zealand has many blue lakes which are easily accessible meaning that a large number of samples can be taken during a short field campaign. Mortimer Werther, Evangelos' PhD student, gained travel funding from the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) to come to New Zealand. Mortimer brought with him several specialised instruments to collect measurement for his thesis research. In an epic road trip, we travelled all the way down to Fjordland and back through Otago, Canterbury and West Coast, sampling lakes along the way.