Discover your career path


Conduct research on bodies of fresh water.

What does a Limnologist do?

If you’re looking for a career in a field that has you outdoors, feeling the fresh air on your skin, mud between your toes, and cool water engulfing your fingers, you might enjoy becoming a Limnologist. In this job, most of your time is spent hanging out by the lake, or rather, with your test kit dipped into it.

A Limnologist studies land-locked waters such as streams, rivers, marshes and lakes. Closer to the shore, you might work with salt water formations too.

Dragging along your science instruments, you take water samples, measure water levels and temperatures, and research the organisms in the water. As the Limnologist, you observe the ecosystem. You take notes on human use, animals in the area, and what plant species are thriving. When you’ve collected enough data, you spend some time in the lab studying similar research and writing up your findings.

The information you gather helps water management teams understand the effect of weather patterns on the depth and temperature of the water. Since those factors affect the health of plants and animals, your research directly impacts management decisions about the area as a whole. Is human impact endangering rare plants or fish species? Are bacteria readings too high? If so, what’s causing these problems?

Limitations on access, catch and release, conservation, and stocking policies all stem from information you’ve provided. Obviously, you have to be passionate about science for this position. In addition, you need the desire to get your hands dirty, a technical capacity, and self-motivation.