During the Open PAGES Focus 4 Workshop “Towards a more accurate quantification of human-environment interactions in the past” University of Leuven, Belgium 3-7 February 2014. A working group focusing on aquatic ecosystems and their responsiveness to human and climate impact was established. The working group AQUATIC TRANSITIONS will synthesize paleoecological records of change in aquatic systems both regionally and globally to reveal the sensitivity of sites to critical stages of human impact, the internal dynamics of changes within rivers, lakes and wetlands, and the details of the nature of changes. Further, Aquatic Transitions will seek to identify points of change, early warning systems and feedbacks that may provide insights for waterway management. Dirk Verschuren, Esther Githumbi and Colin Courtney-Mustaphi are key participants and the first meeting will take place in April 2015.