resources need to invigorate their NRC postdoctoral programs with an emphasis on inland aquatic ecosystem research.
As emphasized in this chapter, field research is a critical part of education in limnology. Although the principles of how aquatic ecosystems operate can be learned in classrooms, hands-on experience is the only way to gain a true appreciation for the complexities of aquatic systems. Field experience is essential not only for graduate students, who may themselves become scientific researchers and aquatic resource managers, but also for undergraduate students, who benefit greatly from a firsthand understanding of how aquatic systems operate, from learning scientific research methods, and from the atmosphere at field research sites, which is distinctly different from the on-campus atmosphere. Students can become completely immersed in their field study and can interact with scientists as members of a team. Many employers place a high value on field experience.
It is highly unfortunate that field experience in limnology is extremely limited for undergraduates at U.S. universities. Opportunities are relatively limited even for graduate students to obtain experience with a diversity of aquatic ecosystems at field stations or in organized field courses.
Field research sites and stations have contributed significantly to the collection of long-term limnological data, interdisciplinary research, and experimental manipulation of large-scale aquatic ecosystems. Efforts to expand the educational mission of such sites and stations should be encouraged. Encouraging a mix of research and educational activities at a field station may provide a more stable funding base to maintain the station than would exist if it focused solely on one of these activities.
Some field stations do offer opportunities for student research experience (see the background paper "The Role of Major Research Centers in the Study of Inland Aquatic Ecosystems" at the end of this report). A few examples include the Trout Lake Station, associated with the University of Wisconsin–Madison; the Lake Itasca Forestry and Biological Station, affiliated with the University of Minnesota; the University of Notre Dame Environmental Research Center; the H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest, which has a major stream study component and is associated with Oregon State University and the U.S. Forest Service; the Center for Great Lakes