BOX 2-3 EDWARD A. BIRGE (1851–1950), CHANCEY JUDAY (1871–1944), AND THE WISCONSIN SCHOOL OF LIMNOLOGY
Birge and Juday are usually included among the founders of limnology. Their research contributed substantially to the basic understanding of a broad range of physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of lakes. They also assisted the development of the field through their roles in initiating a strong educational program and communications networks linking professional limnologists. Several books provide details of their lives (Sellery, 1956; Frey, 1963; Beckel, 1987).
The contributions of Birge and Juday represent a microcosm of the interdisciplinary links that have been essential for progress in limnology. Both began their work with classic zoological studies on the taxonomy and distribution of a major component of lake planktonic communities, the cladocerans. They soon found, however, that little could be understood about the distribution of these animals in lakes without evaluating a range of physical and chemical properties. This led to investigations of water column thermal structure, distribution of dissolved gases, and light penetration, along with the mechanisms controlling these features. Several fundamental aspects of lakes that now comprise a basic component of most modern investigations derive from these efforts (Mortimer, 1956; Frey, 1963). The multidisciplinary effort needed to investigate lake properties led Birge and Juday to involve chemists, physicists, geologists, and other biologists in their research, and they interacted with other scientists in the developing field of limnology around the world. Initially, their work focused on individual lakes in southern Wisconsin. Later, they expanded their efforts at the Trout Lake Limnological Station in northern Wisconsin to compare and evaluate controlling features across a wide range of lake types. Their assessments of the interactions among physical, chemical, and biological processes in lakes helped to develop limnology as an ecosystem science. Substantial portions of the data Birge and Juday collected during their later years never were published, and these archived data remain a useful source of information for present-day limnologists.
Edward A. Birge obtained A.B. and A.M. degrees from Williams College in Massachusetts and a Ph.D. from Harvard. He began his career at the University of Wisconsin in 1875 and remained there for the rest of his life. During his career, he assumed a variety of administrative positions, including president of the university. He also directed the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, through which he fostered the collection of extensive limnological data. Despite his administrative responsibilities, he maintained his interest in aquatic research, continuing to work at the Trout Lake Station even at the age of 85. Robert Pennak, who completed his graduate work at Wisconsin and now is emeritus professor at the University of Colorado, relates a story of how Birge admonished him, after a Model A car they were using had been turned on its side by slippery road conditions," … dammit Pennak, put it back on its wheels, the survey must go on!" (Beckel, 1987).
Chancey Juday arrived at Wisconsin in 1900 as a biologist for the Geological and Natural History Survey. He received A.B. and A.M. degrees from Indiana