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Freshwater Ecosystems: Revitalizing Educational Programs in Limnology
lakes (e.g., Mitsch and Gosselink, 1993; Horne and Goldman, 1994; Allan, 1995).
However, not all is well in limnology. Indeed, some of the positive characteristics of limnology at the close of the twentieth century can also be interpreted as indicators of underlying problems. For example, the formation of new societies is symptomatic of increased fragmentation, as well as an unwillingness on the part of the original society (ASLO) to embrace fully some of the newer aspects of the field, in particular applied limnology, resource management-oriented activities, and wetland ecology. In general, problems in the conduct of modern limnology can be grouped into six major areas:
inadequacy or instability of research support, especially in certain areas (such as physical and chemical limnology and wetland ecology);
loss of some prominent academic positions, especially in biological limnology;
growing fragmentation in academic programs (an ironic situation for an inherently interdisciplinary field);
inadequate educational programs, both at the general education level and at the professional level;
growing professional separation among various kinds of limnologists; and
poor public understanding of limnology and failure to identify it as a field that can contribute to the solution of aquatic problems important to human society.
Limnologists have not been reluctant to express concerns about the viability of their field. Discussions on these issues have appeared in limnological journals over the past decade, most notably in Limnology and Oceanography (e.g., Jumars, 1990; Kalff, 1991; Wetzel, 1991). These discussions have led to several studies dedicated to critical self-examination and to the development of recommendations to overcome perceived deficiencies and problems. Major self-analyses include (1) the Freshwater Imperative (Naiman et al., 1995), a broad initiative of a diverse group of aquatic scientists to address research needs in limnology, develop plans for government-supported interdisciplinary research programs on freshwater ecosystems, and otherwise promote the professional development of the field; and (2) ASLO's self-assessment of the field (Lewis et al., 1995), which contains a broad range of recommendations to reinvigorate the field and reverse the trend toward fragmentation among its component disciplines and subject areas.
As discussed in this chapter, much of the recent research support for limnology has been tied to targeted research programs in mission-oriented agencies focused on practical pollution problems. Although there is much to be gained from the focus that such programs provide, their funding