Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Utah State University Faculty Honor Lectures


The Faculty Association, Utah State University

Publication Date



Even in such a wide-ranging and eternally changing field as biology, a few statements about certain aspects can be made with a minimum likelihood of their being refuted. In this class are the following: No two lakes are identical. Any given lake is simultaneously many things to many people. A lake is never static. The influence of a lake reaches far beyond its shores.

Bear Lake, Utah-Idaho, can be used to good advantage to exemplify the truth of these statements. It defies meaningful comparison with other lakes unless a mass of detailed statistics is employed. To the fisherman and water sports enthusiast, Bear Lake represents an excellent source of recreation. Its complex ecology offers the investigating scientist virtually unlimited opportunities for conjecture and subsequent experimentation. This relatively young body of water still has the characteristics of a cold-water lake that is low in fertility (organic materials), but its conversion to a warm-water lake has begun. Its watershed lands and tributaries extend its effects over a wide area.

As with all things, the passage of time has brought about slow changes in the lake, its boundaries, and its inhabitants. Now burgeoning population pressures are accelerating these processes, and the future of this unique body of water is likely to be far different than its past. Bear Lake is inexorably though slowly changing from a coldwater lake to a warm-water lake because of an increasing influx of organic materials. This means that the water chemistry is being altered; fish populations will change in number and type; and the depth distribution, timing, and extent of horizontal movements of the fish that inhabit the lake will be affected


This work made publicly available electronically on August 5, 2011.