What is Limnology?

What is Limnology?

Limnology (from Greek: limne – lakes; logos – study) is a multidisciplinary science whose study focus are the inland water bodies, such as lakes, lagoons, rivers, streams, wetlands and reservoirs. Limnology studies encompasses chemical, physical, biological and ecological aspects of these aquatic environments.

Initially, limnological studies focused on describing patterns of functioning of aquatic environments – such as nutrient cycling and stratification of water bodies. However, the development of ecological science in recent decades marked the start of the search for processes which could explain those patterns.

Studies in limnology range from basic research – aiming to characterize the ecosystems and understand ecological processes – to applied research, which seeks to find solutions to environmental problems such as eutrophication and other kinds of impacts in aquatic environments. Nowadays, Limnology is important not only for scientific reasons, but also in mediating socioeconomic problems caused by the multiple uses of water.

A limnologist can work in different areas, such as on the development of scientific research, restoration of aquatic ecosystems, monitoring of environmental impacts – like those from hydroelectric dams and fish farms -, etc. Among the most common job opportunities for this professional are jobs at the Universities and research institutes, Government environmental agencies and consulting firms.

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