First International Meeting on the Biodiversity of the Pyrenean Lakes

It took place on May 13 and 14 in Loudenvielle, France. Expert researchers in biodiversity and ecology of the ponds of the Pyrenees and those responsible for Administrations and managing entities of the different territories have been found. They have talked about the problems that these ecosystems currently face, closely related to global change, and about actions aimed at preserving and recovering them.

The LIFE RESQUE ALPYR team has had a prominent role, sharing the successful results of the restoration actions carried out within its previous project (the LimnoPirineus), such as the eradication of fish introduced by man in the ponds that has meant a rapid recovery of native species of amphibians and mammals. They have talked about the actions that, based on that experience, they develop and plan to carry out with the LIFE project and how important the collaboration established with local partners is.

Image of the presentation made by Dr. Marc Ventura

The LIFE RESQUE ALPYR project, presented as an example of success

The first day of the meeting was dedicated to sharing knowledge, exchanging ideas and strengthening collaboration in favor of the preservation of mountain lakes through interactive sessions, workshops and presentations of inspiring cases.

Marc Ventura, coordinator of the LIFE RESQUE ALPYR project and researcher at the Center for Advanced Studies of Blanes (CEAB-CSIC) has been one of the protagonists of this first day. It has focused on the biodiversity and conservation of high mountain ponds in the Pyrenees and the Alps, highlighting the natural heritage that these ecosystems represent and the threats they face (presence of invasive fish and effects of global change). . He then presented, among others, the conservation objectives and actions of the LIFE project and the results expected to be obtained through the eradication of fish in the ponds.

Tribute to Dr. Didier Galop

His second intervention was a heartfelt tribute to the recently transferred Dr. Didier Galop, renowned geographer, paleolimnologist, and director for more than 10 years of the Home-Medi Observatory (OHM) of the National Center for Scientific Research in France (CNRS) and the GEODE Research Laboratory.

Marc Ventura has narrated in detail the history of fish introductions into high mountain lakes; a story studied together with Didier Galop and Olivier Baudier.

In the Pyrenees, fish introductions have been carried out since historical times for self-consumption and trade, using native trout from nearby rivers, always in a few lakes. In the lakes of the Alps there are also a few introductions dating back to medieval times. However, in both the Alps and the Pyrenees, it was from the second half of the 20th century that the introduction of fish became widespread with the appearance of recreational fishing.

Currently, 32% of the lakes in the SCI Pallars and 75% in the SCI Aigüestortes have stable fish populations. In the Italian Alps, introduced fish are present in 89% of the lakes in the Monte Avic Natural Park and 35% of those in the Gran Paradiso National Park.

A cross-border project for high altitude lakes

The 1st international meeting was organized by the CBN of the Pyrenees and Midi-Pyrénées as secretary of the scientific interest group (GIS) “Lacs des Pyrénées”. The final objective is – through a strategic partnership between researchers, managers and entities – to build an ambitious and cross-border program for the Pyrenees between now and 2026 that allows us to face the challenges of biodiversity conservation.