Lake Nyos, Cameroon - Alfred Johnny Wüest
Limnologist Dr. Wüest has worked on scientific issues on many "Great Lakes " abroad, from Lake Nyos and Lake Kivu in Africa, to Lake Ohrid in eastern Europe. On Lake Nyos, Wüest helped with major CO2 issues with the lake, an experience that showed how diverse systmes and freshwater lakes are from place to place.
"I’m Johnny Wüest from Eawag in Switzerland and working in freshwater all my life. There are a few moments where you really feel “wow”, and one of them was on Lake Nyos. It’s one of these killer lakes in Africa that had exhaust of CO2 in ‘87 so we got involved in about 2003 in measuring profiles and changes because they wanted to put in a pipe to release the CO2 into the atmosphere.
I realized that this system is special and that there must be layering of the water column. That was my intuitive sense so we took profiles with a very simple CTE very, very, very slowly. Then in the evening we looked at the day and saw, wow that the whole system had layers. Something like 27 – I even remember the number. That was a moment when I realized how diverse and different systems are from place to place. That’s an experience that I made later on again on Lake Kivu which is very special. It is one of the most interesting and one of the most outstanding lakes in the world. Or Lake Ohrid, one of the most biologically diverse and the ecologically most interesting lakes in the western part of Europe. These are the kinds of moments where you realize, yeah I think I have chosen the right profession."