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Breaking New Waters, a Century of Limnology at the University of Wisconsin.

Recognition of the early contributions of limnology to the more holistic oceanographic studies seems to be growing. Thus, an account of Wisconsin's limnology community provides much material on the origins of this important field of study.

"Breaking New Waters, A Century of Limnology at the University of Wisconsin" by Annamarie L. Beckel (with a contributed chapter by Frank Egerton), has been published as a special issue of the Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters by the Academy, 1922 University Avenue, Madison, WI 53705. As the author puts it, "The development of the science of limnology is inextricably entwined with the careers of Edward Asahel Burge and Chancey Juday, and later with that of Arthur Davis Hasler." Indeed, Burge and Juday laid many of the foundation stones for American limnology, and this volume explores the origin and growth of the science at the University of Madison-Wisconsin and its Trout Lake Station. Their graduate students have also pioneered in fields as diverse as water pollution control, chemistry, marine microbiology, oyster studies, sea turtle migrations, Pacific tuna studies, salmon homing, fish reproduction, and more.

The book is a fine chronicle of developments in limnological work at the University of Wisconsin from Birge's arrival in 1875 to Hasler's retirement in 1978. Birge and Juday worked together for 40 years, leaving a record of some 400 scientific reports by their group. In all, perhaps 900 scientific contributions were produced between 1875 and 1978 and, along with the scientists schooled there, they have had a huge impact on both freshwater and marine science.

Essentially, the first chapters provide an "inside story" of the program and its development, often in the words of the three scientists themselves and, via interviews, in the words of their associates and students. Birge hired Juday in 1900 as a biologist for a state-sponsored survey study diel migration of zooplankton in southeastern Wisconsin lakes; ill health forced him to quit a year later, but he rejoined the survey in 1905 and the U.W. Zoology Department as a limnology lecturer in 1908. By then Birge was also University President, retiring in 1925 from that position at age 73. An authority on the taxonomy and ecology of Cladocera, Birge conducted research until 1941.

The classical descriptive-comparative limnological style of studies of Birge and Juday waned in the 1940's. Hasler, one of Juday's students who had been an assistant biologist with the U.S. Bureau of Commercial Fisheries in the middle 1930's (working with Paul Galtsoff at Woods Hole on the effects of pulp mill wastes on oysters), became a full professor at the University of Wisconsin in 1947 and led the limnological group into more structured experimental studies in the natural environment, notably salmon homing and winter limnological research among many others.

Egerton's chapter 5, then, is an overview of "The Wisconsin Limnology Community," in which he analyzes the achievements of these leaders of limnology, comparing and contrasting the evolution of their limnological program, discussing the similarities and differences in their aims, approaches, methods, and results. Altogether, the small volume provides a rare insight into the operation and evolution of a small but highly effective scientific group. Of interest also are more than 30 photographs of the individuals, their work, and the facilities; an appendix lists the Ph.D. students with Juday and the M.S. and Ph.D. students with Hasler. Paperbound, the 122-page volume is sold by the Academy for $10.00.
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Publication:Marine Fisheries Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 22, 1988
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