Our Blog

What Lies Beneath: Sudden Invasion of a Wisconsin Lake Wasn’t So Sudden After All

In the fall of 2009, a tiny aquatic creature known as the spiny water flea showed up in a lake where it had never before been seen. At first, students in the UW-Madison undergraduate limnology class didn’t know what they had found. But professor Jake Vander Zanden did. Read More …

Lake Mendota’s Spring Thaw Ties for 2nd Earliest on Record

Yesterday morning I brought breakfast to my daughters at our dining room table, glanced out the window and did a double take. The waters of Lake Monona were a churning mass of brownish bluish green. Read more –>

Steve Carpenter On “Fake Facts,” Trust in Science and Hope For the Future

The following “Know Your Madisonian” profile ran in today in the Wisconsin State Journal

by Karen Rivedal, Wisconsin State Journal

As an antidote to a proliferation of “fake facts,” Stephen Carpenter offers repeatable, observable, measurable science that is provably fact-filled. Continue reading –>


Blog Redux: What Less Lake Ice Means for Ecology, Economy and Ourselves

NOTE: This post originally ran on January 17, 2012. In the four of the five years since this post, Lake Mendota has frozen over well after its “median” freeze date, and in three of the five years it has thawed Read More …

Fish Fry Day: Western Mosquitofish and the Danger of Good Intentions

It’s Fish Fry Day and fish is on the menu! We’re working our way across the “Fishes of Wisconsin” poster finding morsels of info for every species of fishes found in Wisconsin. Today’s special: the Western Mosquitofish. Take a moment Read More …

What Two Frozen Lakes Taught Me About Perception Versus Data

Today, I woke up at my favorite place on earth – Ten Mile Lake, in Hackensack, Minnesota. On the coldest day of the winter thus far, the frozen lake is so bright, so sparkly, it is almost hard to look at. And when you are from a place where 30 below is often the actual temperature (NOT the wind chill), you rely less on the calendar to define the seasons and more on observations of specific events that are tied to the climate. Read More …


Bass Set to Win, Walleye Lose Under Warming Projections

Following up on our call for political officials in Wisconsin to start taking climate change seriously, here is a post originally published in September of 2016 about one of the potential impacts global warming will have on Wisconsin and Midwest lakes. Read More …


Purging DNR’s Website Doesn’t Change Climate Facts

Last week, we shared our resolution to stand up for science in 2017, after the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources changed their website to reflect an incorrect and politically motivated stance on climate change. Yesterday CFL director, Steve Carpenter, and Read More …

Rare “Double Mirage” on Lake Mendota Explained

Back in December, some unique circumstances caused an odd stratification of temperatures above the still-open waters on Lake Mendota. With the water keeping air near its surface right around 32 Fahrenheit, but an Arctic blast bringing quite cold temperatures into Read More …

Fish Fry Day: Biology and Neutrons Collide to Unlock Secrets of Fish Ear Bones

Brenda Pracheil and Bryan Chakoumakos examine the structure of an otolith under a microscope. Courtesy: ORNL

by Sean Simoneau, Oak Ridge National Laboratory simoneausm@ornl.gov December 20, 2016—Scientific discovery can come from anywhere, but few researchers can say the answers to their questions would come from the pea-sized bones in the head of a six-foot-long, 200-pound prehistoric Read More