Limnology

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Limnology is the study of bodies of water located inland such as lakes, rivers, wetlands, streams, watersheds, and reservoirs. Limnologists study how the weather, climate, and physical geography interact to create and affect drainage basins. This field of study covers fresh and saltwater bodies. Limnology goes hand in hand with ecology and the environmental sciences and covers biological, chemical, physical, geological and other aspects of inland bodies of water. Limnology can also be focused to conduct study on aquatic life and hydrology.

Limnologists classify various bodies of water according to an index called the trophic state index, which is a spectrum that bodies of water can fall on that range from oligotrophic (low levels of production and nutrients) to eutrophic (high levels of production and high nutrient levels), and dystrophic (high humic matter and clouded waters). Different bodies of water can be classed on this spectrum based on their individual characteristics.

Laguna Grande is a 50-hectare salt-water lagoon located in the municipio of Fajardo, in the eastern-most tip of Puerto Rico.  Photo: USGS.
Laguna Grande is a 50-hectare salt-water lagoon located in the municipio of Fajardo, in the eastern-most tip of Puerto Rico. Photo: USGS, public domain.

Limnology is related to a variety of other fields and is integral to understanding the uses and relationships that different bodies of water have to their physical geographic surroundings as well as to humans, microorganisms, and other plant and animal life. Each type of water source has its place on the Earth and is home to a variety of plant and animal species that keep the ecology and biology of Earth in a delicate balance.

References

Wetzel, Robert G. 2003. Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography. What is Limnology? Web access 4 January, 2015. http://www.aslo.org/limnology.html

Limnology. 2014. Wikipedia. Web access 4 January, 2015. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limnology

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