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Freshwater Ecosystems: Revitalizing Educational Programs in Limnology
state agencies and the private sector are one way of providing this exposure and simultaneously furthering the links between universities, agencies, and private firms. Prospective managers of aquatic ecosystems should have the opportunity to gain laboratory and field experience in limnology.
Educating future limnologists: Undergraduates showing special interest in limnology need to be given guidance and opportunities to select a curriculum that will provide the breadth of skills and knowledge required to solve problems of freshwater ecosystems. Opportunities for undergraduate students to attend summer- or semester-long limnology "field camps" should be developed to complement the laboratory portion of conventional limnology courses. At the graduate level, comprehensive programs need to be developed, especially for M.S. degrees, to train limnologists who are knowledgeable across the spectrum of freshwater ecosystem types; who have an integrated understanding of the physical, chemical, and biological processes operating in these ecosystems; who understand the political, economic, and cultural factors that affect aquatic ecosystems and their management; and who have strong problem-solving and communication skills. Graduate programs need to include a research or practical problem-solving component; "course-work only" M.S. programs generally are not adequate to provide limnologists with the above-described skills.
LINKING WATER MANAGEMENT, RESEARCH, AND EDUCATION IN LIMNOLOGY
Beyond strengthening limnology in educational institutions, the Committee on Inland Aquatic Ecosystems recommends additional steps to improve the links between scientific understanding in this field, as produced and disseminated primarily by educational institutions, and the practical management of water resources, as conducted primarily by government agencies and for-profit companies:
Support of aquatic science research: The National Science Foundation should establish a permanent program focused on basic and problem-solving interdisciplinary research on inland aquatic ecosystems.
Certification of limnologists: Leaders of the limnological professional societies should consider establishing professional certification programs in limnology. Such a tactic could raise the value and profile of degrees in limnology and help ensure a minimum level of competence among practicing limnologists. Certification might be based on assessment of an applicant's educational and work experience by a qualified review board. Professional certification programs have pluses and minuses, but a number of environmental science disciplines (for example, hydrology and