A seminar for advanced students emphasizing parameters
affecting the structure of communities in lentic and lotic
waters stressed by population, development, and wastes.
Emphasis is on the current state of our understanding of aquatic communities
(why things are the way they are), both the promise and limitation of
biological control of water quality, biological assessment of polluted
environments, and management of communities in natural waters. The intent of the
course is to launch your continuing curiosity as to why things are not always
(maybe never!) amenable to quick fixes. The course
requires extensive assigned readings in appropriate journals and other
primary sources (usually the assigned readings are collected in a single place).
Weekly class meetings include a discussion and short
quiz both based on the week's readings. Topics addressed are
Major Assignment: Development and Formal Presentation of Scientific Paper (PowerPoint/poster)
The development and presentation of a 15-20 minute oral paper is required. Students will be expected to produce a well-balance outline concerning a topic on which they have developed reasonable expertize. The outline will be the basis for a formal, graphics-enhanced, oral presentation. Use of a computer graphics presentation program will be expected and facilitated. PowerPoint is suggested because of its general availability and portability, and because we can provide access to it and instructions on its use in the department. Mastery of a standard computer graphics program is considered an essential skill for future professional use.
Each student will pick a topic related to the course's theme. Suggested topics might include: a) a student's own research; b) materials generated by a special project undertaken by a student for credit in this, or another, course; c) materials relating to a project which is associated with the student's job; d) materials of relating to any one of the syllabus listings.
Papers will be presented during our last class meeting (in lieu of a final exam) If you select your topic wisely, you will be able to use the materials you develop at some time in the future - in conjunction with a) an oral presentation to a) colleagues at a scientific meeting; b) your employer and, or, customers; c) future employers; d) your research committee; e) your master's committee, or the formal presentation of your dissertation results.
I. INTRODUCTION: LIMNOLOGY AS AN INTEGRATING SCIENCE - Because this course must
serve students with somewhat varied backgrounds; i.e., undergraduate majors in
engineering, biology, chemistry and environmental studies, the first discussions
are intended to provide some general background in the physical structure of lakes.
Topics will include: formation, depth, shoreline development, stratification,
overturn, and the nature of water and how each is significant to biological productivity.
II. MACRONUTRIENTS I: THE PHOSPHATE/CARBON CONTROVERSY - Introduction to the
original papers so often quoted as proofs that phosphate is "not" a
significant limiting nutrient in fresh waters (and the ocean??). The sources and alternatives
for macronutrient requirements. Information published by academic and
detergent industry sources. Strengths and weaknesses in both stories.
III. "MACRONUTRIENTS" II [?]: LIGHT/TEMPERATURE INTERACTIONS AND CO2/HCO3-/ACID RAIN
INTERACTIONS - the bicarbonate buffering capacity of lakes, and
what it means to an aquatic community.
IV. MICRONUTRIENTS: INORGANICS - Trace elements as both toxic and essential
materials - the dangers of too much and too little. Chelation: Natural and
V. MICRONUTRIENTS: ORGANICS - Vitamin production, utilization, binding;
other organic micronutrients; autotrophy vs. heterotrophy.What is a niche?
VI. MEMBRANE TRANSPORT - Active transport of nutrients and non-nutrients;
role of ATP; osmosis via cellophane or the membranes of moribund cells.
VII. GENETICS AND EVOLUTION = TAXONOMY - Evolution, distinctions between two, then three
major kingdoms and theories; Margulis's endosymbiont theory, Whittaker's
kingdoms. As applied to specimens in field samples. Contrasting uses and
values of phylogenetic, numerical, and morphological taxonomic systems. From
whence all those Latin names on impact statement lists come.
VIII. BIOLOGICAL INDICES AND SAPROBIC SYSTEMS - The history,
applications, and predictive value of biological and saprobic indices.
IX. PLANKTON - The role of phytoplankton, of zooplankton in the food chain; disruption of
communities in eutrophied waters; r and k selection. The "paradox" of the plankton.
X. ZOOPLANKTON BIOASSAY - USEPA protocols; acute vs. chronic bioassay; Why?
History of aquatic culture vs. bioassay.
XI. N2 -FIXATION - Especially by blue-green "algae" in fresh waters,
XII. BLUE-GREENS & ALLELOCHEMISTRY - Their significance, quantities, sources,
identification, future uses.
XIII. COMMUNITY STRUCTURE - Tying together the loose ends and trying to make
a freshwater community
function according to plan. (Whose plan?)
XIV. STUDENT PRESENTATIONS
A textbook is a functional tool, you could make good use of one.
Unfortunately, the only decent "graduate level" limnology textbooks are
disturbingly expensive. Do not make the mistake of purchasing some
inexpensive text because the word "limnology" is included in the title.
The recent, somewhat faddish, interest in limnology has produced quite a
few unsatisfactory texts. By "unsatisfactory" I mean that a) they are
rampant with genuine errors-in-fact, and b) they are written by persons
whose basic discipline is not limnology (which results in a very poorly
structured approach to the field, one which invariably distorts the term
"limnology"). It is true that every senior scientist (for perspective I
consider persons not yet accomplished in research to be "junior") is
biased to that one, narrow, topic which is central to his or her research
interests, but an ichthyologist who has an interest in lakes as fish
habitats is not a limnologist, nor is an entomologist who cannot resist
a good trout stream. By the way, an ecologist who has an
interest in freshwater systems probably is a limnologist because that is
essentially a definition of limnology. The pre-eminent ecologist of the
20th Century, G. Evelyn Hutchinson, was also the pre-eminent limnologist
of the century. He passed away on May 17, 1992.
If books were free, this would be your text. They are not, so it is not. My copies are
available to read - NOT TO BORROW!! (No - there are no more recent texts that come even close to matching these.)
If you are a pauper, like the rest of us, and you would like a trustworthy basic text on limnology, purchase the most recent edition of Robert Wetzel's textbook. Early editions have been entitled simply - Limnology. The most recent versions include a co-author.