Lake1Limnology is the study of freshwater and saline inland waters. It includes studying the physical, chemical and biological components of lakes, reservoirs, ponds, streams, rivers, wetlands, and estuaries. Oceanography differs because it is the study of the open ocean. Freshwater ecology differs because it is the study of just freshwater systems and does not include saline inland water.

In these series of web pages, we will only address the physical, chemical and biological components of lakes, which could also be called lake ecology. You can go back and forth through the pages by using the Limnology Primer toolbar on the left.

The RMB Environmental Laboratories Lakes Monitoring Program involves the collection of Total Phosphorus, Chlorophyll-a and Secchi disk samples. By exploring this Limnology Primer you will learn the reasoning behind the collection of these samples and how they relate to overall lake health.

Lake2If you have any questions about this Limnology Primer or about Limnology in general, please contact Moriya Rufer (218-846-1465, lakes@rmbel.info).

Click on the topics below to read about them

Total Phosphorus
Chlorophyll a
Secchi Depth (Transparency)
Water Quality Parameter Relationships
Dissolved Oxygen
Lake Trophic States
Trophic State Index (TSI)
Lake Eutrophication
Lake Stratification and Mixing
Fish Distribution
Water Cycle


Wetzel, R.G. 2001. Limnology, Lake and River Ecosystems, Third Edition. Academic Press, Elsevier Science, USA .