Upper-level undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Minnesota will have the opportunity to enroll in an on-site program that takes advantage of the unique resources available through the University of Minnesota Duluth and the Large Lakes Observatory. Advanced undergraduates may elect this course of study to provide a unique minor. Graduate students may elect this course of study as part of a graduate certificate or as part of a degree program, especially students already enrolled in the Water Resources Science degree.

Limnology Learning Program

Description:

This Study Away program affords student a unique opportunity to connect the theoretical with the practical in a unique setting. The University of Minnesota Duluth’s (UMD) and the Large Lakes Observatory’s strong tradition of learning and research in limnology—the study of inland waters—is centered around their geographic proximity to Lake Superior. This Study Away program leverages the intellectual assets of UMD and the physical assets proximate to the university to afford a tremendous academic experience associated with one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world.

As a part of this course sequence, students will have the opportunity to learn about limnology in an immersive experience with an interdisciplinary team of instructors and researchers at the Large Lakes Observatory and the wider UMD campus. Additionally, students will gain hands-on research and fieldwork experience on UMD’s two research vessels, the R/V Blue Heron and the R/V Kingfisher, and in the state-of-the-art scientific laboratories housed at the Large Lakes Observatory. Students who choose the yearlong Study Away program will participate in a spring capstone learning experience led by local water- and environment-focused community partners, including environmental consulting firms, government labs, and nonprofit organizations.

Students wishing to enter the program should contact Dr. Kathryn Schreiner (kschrein@d.umn.edu) in the limnology program and coordinate with the Registrar’s Office at UMD.

Courses:

As the program is open to advanced undergraduates as well as graduates, students should assess the appropriateness of the educational experience to their personal and professional pursuits.

The courses are structured around foundational coursework in fall and spring as well as electives offered fall and spring. The program is designed to enroll students for a fall semester–only experience or a fall-and-spring yearlong sequence. All work will be done in residence at the University of Minnesota Duluth campus.

Fall

LIM 5010: Limnology I (3 cr)

An interdisciplinary introduction to the science of limnology taught at the beginning graduate student level. The science of inland waters, limnology, is built on geology, chemistry, biology, and physics and increasingly includes social sciences. In this course, students will experience an in-depth, integrated approach to limnology. Lake systems are emphasized but wetland and running water systems are discussed. The course includes significant out-of-class time reviewing online modules and other materials. In-class time is devoted mainly to group work, problem solving, and student-led discussions and presentations. An optional companion laboratory and practice course (LIM 5011) is associated with this course where additional foundational and fundamental limnological techniques are taught.

LIM 5011: Limnology Practice I (2 cr)

A graduate-level laboratory and discussion course with an interdisciplinary introduction to limnology. This class will introduce students to laboratory, field, data collection, and data analysis techniques in the study of limnology. Introductory coding will be covered. Oral and written communication skills and problem solving skills will also be developed. This course is designed to be taken in conjunction with LIM 5010, Limnology I.

Spring

LIM 5012: Limnology II (3 cr)

Continuing from LIM 5010, this is the second semester of an interdisciplinary introduction to the science of limnology taught at the beginning graduate student level. The science of inland waters, limnology, is built on geology, chemistry, biology, and physics and increasingly includes social sciences. Students will experience an in-depth, integrated approach to limnology. Lake systems are emphasized but wetland and running water systems are discussed. The course includes significant out-of-class time reviewing online modules and other materials. In-class time is devoted mainly to group work, solving real-world problems, and student-led discussions and presentations. An optional companion laboratory and practice course (LIM 5013) is associated with this course, where additional foundational and fundamental limnological techniques are taught.

LIM 5013: Limnology Practice II (2 cr)

A second semester of the graduate-level laboratory and discussion course with an interdisciplinary introduction to limnology. This class will introduce students to laboratory, field, data collection, and data analysis techniques in the study of limnology. Introductory coding will be covered. Oral and written communication skills and problem solving skills will also be developed. The second half of this semester will be spent working with industry and nonprofit community partners on a capstone project, emphasizing the use of newly acquired skills and knowledge in a non-academic setting. This course is designed to be taken in conjunction with LIM 5012, Limnology II.

Electives

CE 5201: Water Policy (3 cr)

Every fall

Socio-cultural, legal, and economic factors that affect water resources management. Historical trends in water policy, resulting water laws in the United States. Federal, state, and local institutional structures for water management.

LIM 5101: Physical Limnology (3 cr)

Spring in even years

Physical description of lake dynamics including lake morphometry, water budget, light distribution, circulation, fronts, waves, and mixing. Descriptive, mathematical, numerical, and data-analysis techniques are used to investigate the various topics.

LIM 5102: Chemical Limnology (3 cr)

Spring in even years

Organic and inorganic chemistry of natural waters, major and minor ions, pH-Eh relationships, carbon and nutrient cycles, pore water chemistry, sediment chemistry, microbial geochemistry. Offered alternate years.

LIM 5103: Geological Limnology (3 cr)

Spring in odd years

Geological aspects of freshwater systems: origins, tectonic and climatic settings of lakes, geophysical mapping, physical sedimentary processes, sedimentary geochemistry, and geochronology. Particular focus on paleolimnology, the analysis of lake sediment to reconstruct past climate and environment.

LIM 5104: Geochemistry in Aquatic Sediments (3 cr)

Spring in even years

The course covers the geochemical, physical, biogeochemical, and biological processes in the upper meters of aquatic sediments. Topics include biogeochemical cycles of C, N, P, S; sediment-water exchanges of nutrients, metals, and pollutants; pathways and rates of microbially catalyzed reactions; bioturbation and bioirrigation; and measurement techniques and reaction-transport modeling.

LIM 5105: Research Frontiers in Limnology (1 cr)

Periodic in spring

An interdisciplinary graduate seminar with the dual goal of reviewing most significant current developments in limnological science and helping students identify most significant knowledge gaps in their disciplinary research fields. The course involves guest lectures, student presentations, and discussions. It aims to provide students with guidance on choosing research directions to achieve an optimal balance between difficulty and scientific payoff.

BIOL 5861: Lake Ecology (3 cr)

Every spring

Ecology of lakes and reservoirs.

BIOL 5833: Stream Ecology (3 cr)

Fall in even years

Studies of stream communities and ecosystems as influenced by biological interactions and physical factors. Emphasis on North Shore streams. (2 hrs lecture, 6 hrs lab and field)

BIOL 5809: Ecological Statistics (3 cr)

Every fall

Directed toward the upper-level undergraduate student and MS-level graduate student, with previous introductory statistical experience. Provides an introduction to many of the data-manipulation, analysis, and display techniques currently available. Seeks to provide students with the background and practical experience necessary to make appropriate decisions regarding the treatment of data, the interpretation of statistical analyses, and the formal presentation of study results.

BIOL 5869: Great Lakes Ecology and Management (3 cr)

Fall in odd years

The world's great lakes account for over 60% of surface freshwater, occur from the Arctic Circle to the tropics, and sustain a disproportionate share of the world's population and economic activity. Utilization has too often led to degradation and loss of biodiversity and beneficial uses. In response, a variety of management agencies attempt to protect and restore the lakes. The world's largest lakes will be surveyed to appreciate unique aspects of their ecology and the current problems that challenge management agencies. Successes and deficiencies of current management approaches will be reviewed as well as their capacity to address new global challenges such as climate change and biotic globalization.

CHEM 5150: Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry (3 cr)

Spring in odd years

Production and chemical composition of natural organic matter (OM), diagenesis and catagenesis of OM, stable isotopic fractionation processes of C, H, O, N, and S in natural systems, fractionation theory, isotopic indicators of climate, oceanographic/limnologic processes, trophic structure, microbial processes.