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Limnology (pronounced /lɪmˈnɒlədʒi/, lim-NOL-uh-jee; from Greek: Λίμνη limne, "lake"; and λόγος, logos, "knowledge") is often regarded as a division of ecology or environmental science. It is, however, defined as "the study of inland waters". This comprises the biological, chemical, physical, geological, and other attributes of all inland waters (running and standing waters, both fresh and saline, natural or man-made). This includes the study of lakes and ponds, rivers, springs, streams and wetlands.[1] A more recent sub-discipline of limnology, termed landscape limnology, studies, manages, and conserves these aquatic ecosystems using a landscape perspective.

Limnology is closely related to aquatic ecology and hydrobiology, which study aquatic organisms in particular regard to their hydrological environment.



The term limnology was coined by François-Alphonse Forel (1841-1912) who established the field with his studies of Lake Geneva. Interest in the discipline rapidly expanded, and in 1922 August Thienemann (a German zoologist) and Einar Naumann (a Swedish botanist) co-founded the International Society of Limnology (SIL, for originally Societas Internationalis Limnologiae). Forel's original definition of limnology, "the oceanography of lakes", was expanded to encompass the study of all inland waters.[2]

Prominent early American limnologists included G. Evelyn Hutchinson, Ed Deevey, E. A. Birge, and C. Juday.[3]



See also


  1. ^ Wetzel, R.G. 2001. Limnology: Lake and River Ecosystems, 3rd ed. Academic Press (ISBN 0-12-744760-1)
  2. ^ Wetzel, R.G. 2001. Limnology: Lake and River Ecosystems, 3rd ed. Academic Press (ISBN 0-12-744760-1)
  3. ^ Frey, D.G. (ed.), 1963. Limnology in North America. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison


  • Gerald A. Cole, Textbook of Limnology, 4th ed. (Waveland Press, 1994) ISBN 0-88133-800-1
  • Stanley Dodson, Introduction to Limnology (2005), ISBN 0-07-287935-1
  • A.J.Horne and C.R. Goldman: Limnology (1994), ISBN 0-07-023673-9
  • G. E. Hutchinson, A Treatise on Limnology, 3 vols. (1957-1975) - classic but dated
  • H.B.N. Hynes, The Ecology of Running Waters (1970)
  • Jacob Kalff, Limnology (Prentice Hall, 2001)
  • B. Moss, Ecology of Fresh Waters (Blackwell, 1998)
  • Robert G. Wetzel and Gene E. Likens, Limnological Analyses, 3rd ed. (Springer-Verlag, 2000)

External links

University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Center.


Simple English

Limnology is the study of waters that are not part of the oceans or seas. These are rivers, lakes, swamps, water under the ground, and even bodies of water made by people. Scientists who do this are called limnologists. Their work includes biology, chemistry, physics, geology, and hydrology. Limnology is the scientific study of the life and phenomena of inland water, including lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands. The International Society of Limnology [1] promotes limnology to scientists throughout the world. There are many centres for research in Limnology in many countries of the world.

Limnology helps to explain why some lakes have lots of plants and animals and some have very few. The Freshwater Biological Association which is based next to Windermere in England did a lot of the early work. Limnologists there worked out why deep lakes have cold water at the bottom in summer-time but not in Winter. The reason was winds in Autumn mixing the waters up.


  1. The International Society for Limnology


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