Limnology (// lim-NOL-ə-jee; from Greek: Λίμνη limnee, "lake"; and λόγος, logos, "knowledge"), also called freshwater science, is the study of inland waters. It is often regarded as a division of ecology or environmental science. It covers 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. 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, and influenced Benedykt Dybowski's (polish naturalist and physician) work on Lake Baikal.
Prominent early American limnologists included G. Evelyn Hutchinson, Ed Deevey, E. A. Birge, and C. Juday.
Limnology classifies lakes (or other bodies of water) according to the trophic state index. An oligotrophic lake is characterised by relatively low levels of primary production and low levels of nutrients. A eutrophic lake has high levels of primary productivity due to very high nutrient levels. Eutrophication of a lake can lead to algal blooms. Dystrophic lakes have high levels of humic matter and typically has yellow-brown tea coloured waters. These categories do not have rigid specifications; the classification system can be seen as more of a spectrum encompassing the various levels of aquatic productivity.
- ^ a b c d Wetzel, R.G. 2001. Limnology: Lake and River Ecosystems, 3rd ed. Academic Press (ISBN 0-12-744760-1)
- ^ 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)
- Patrick E. O'Sullivan and Colin S. Reynolds The Lakes Handbook: Limnology and limnetic ecology ISBN 0-632-04797-6