Subdiscipline of hydrology that concerns the study of fresh waters, specifically lakes and ponds (both natural and manmade), including their biological, physical, and chemical aspects. François-Alphonse Forel (1841–1912) established the field with his studies of Lake Geneva. Limnology traditionally is closely related to hydrobiology, which is concerned with the application of the principles and methods of physics, chemistry, geology, and geography to ecological problems.
Learn more about limnology with a free trial on Britannica.com.
The term limnology was coined by François-Alphonse Forel (1841-1912) who established the field with his studies of Lake Geneva. Interest in the discipline rapidly expanded, and in 1922 August Thienemann (a German zoologist) and Einar Naumann (a Swedish botanist) co-founded the International Society of Limnology (SIL, for originally Societas Internationalis Limnologiae). Forel's original definition of limnology, "the oceanography of lakes", was expanded to encompass the study of all inland waters.