CAREERS IN LIMNOLOGY

Typically, limnologists with advanced degrees have pursued careers in academia or research. For example, 49 percent of the members of the North American Benthological Society, one of the primary professional societies for limnologists, are employed in academia (see Appendix B). However, in addition to typical academic and research careers, promising employment opportunities exist for limnologists in the private and public sectors.

Private-Sector Employment Opportunities

Employment options in the private sector often are overlooked by limnologists, but a variety of potential careers exists with utilities, industries, nonprofit institutions, and consulting companies. The multidisciplinary training and experience that limnologists offer are assets for many positions in the private sector. Small and large organizations alike benefit from having staff with the ability to integrate several disciplines when confronting complicated environmental issues such as watershed management, wetland restoration, or mitigation of point-source pollutant discharges. At the same time, limnologists benefit from the intellectual challenges in the private sector as they seek solutions to environmental problems that involve diverse scientific and policy issues.

Two examples illustrate private-sector opportunities for limnologists:

  1. Environmental manager of a hydroelectric facility: The responsibilities of environmental managers at hydroelectric facilities (see Box 5-1) often include monitoring water quality for compliance with relevant regulations, determining impacts of, a dam on fish and aquatic invertebrate organisms, protecting wetland habitats influenced by the dam, and maintaining terrestrial plant and animal communities of the riparian areas surrounding the impoundment and river. Such managers must understand the physics, chemistry, and biology of the river and reservoir system—for which training in limnology is directly relevant.

  2. Watershed manager for a nongovernmental watershed conservancy: Land, lake, and river conservancies in various parts of the United States purchase critical land, negotiate conservation easements, and establish cross-ownership management partnerships in areas they wish to protect. Watershed managers for such conservancies must develop, implement, and monitor natural resource management plans that integrate activities on conservancy lands, consider industrial activities within the watershed, and seek to improve water and wetland quality of the mainstream and tributaries. As with the hydroelectric facility operator, the conservancy watershed manager must be able to consult with science experts from disparate fields and evaluate their advice when confronting complex restoration



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