What is a Limnologist?

A Limnologist studies the physical, chemical, meteorological and biological conditions in fresh water bodies such as lakes, ponds, rivers, streams and wetlands.

Limnologists are similar to Oceanographers but they conduct their studies on inland water systems which contain both fresh and salt water.

Limnologists are concerned with water movements on all scales, from global circulation patterns to small-scale mixing.

Limnologists have the benefit of working both outdoors in the open and indoors in a laboratory.

What does a Limnologist do?

  • travels to inland water areas which might be remote
  • takes outdoor samples
  • conducts studies and experiments
  • determines where particular organisms occur in a certain body of water
  • determines where pollutants come from and where currents flow
  • they examine all aspects of the water to find out how much plankton there is in an area
  • they determine how much heat is contained in the surface
  • they deduce how much oxygen is available in the water
  • they determine how fast the algae grows
  • determines which factors affect the transmission of light through the water
  • analyses data
  • keeps records

Are you . . . ?

  • scientifically astute?
  • interested in working outdoors?
  • happy to work in remote places on your own?
  • dedicated?
  • thorough and methodical?
  • analytical?

How do I become a Limnologist?

You will have to do a Bachelor of Science (BSc). Your Honours degree can be done in Limnology or Freshwater Studies or freshwater related topics.

BSc degrees can be done at most SA universities. Your university of choice for your postgrad degree will depend on what you want to specialise in.

  • ZSSA: Zoological Society of Southern Africa


OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER:  Marine Biologist … or … Ecologist

Is becoming a Limnologist the right career choice for me?


Companies to work for:
Universities, government departments, industry, research laboratories, Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism