Course description

Limnology is the study of inland waters: lakes, rivers and wetlands. Wetzel (2001) defines limnology as “the study of structural and functional interrelationships of organisms of inland waters as they are affected by their dynamic physical, chemical and biotic environment”.

For this class, we will provide students with an introduction to lake communities and the physical and chemical properties of their environment. Rivers and wetlands will be covered only briefly, but students may choose to do their independent projects on these systems. Topics covered during the class will include the watershed and its hydrology; fluxes of nutrients and materials to and within lakes; the pelagial and littoral zones and their dynamics; sediments and paleolimnology, and the structure and dynamics of major plant and animal communities. Interwoven will be lectures on eutrophication and heavy metal pollution.

Additional requirements

There are two mandatory weekend field trips in this course (in lieu of a lab). All students must attend the field trips on Sept. 28-30 and Oct. 19-21, 2018 which will start at 5 pm on Friday and end at 5 pm on Sunday. A fee of $318.97 will be charged to your Minerva account to cover the accommodation and transportation costs. This course cost is in addition to the regular course fee scheduled by McGill University. As a final requirement, students must be able to swim, as we will spend a fair amount of time working off of boats.



Only register if you:

  1. have the prerequisites (or permission of the instructor)
  2. will be able to pay $318.97
  3. can attend the field weekends on Sept. 28-30 and Oct. 19-21
  4. are an able swimmer

Enrollment will occur on a first come, first serve basis and a waiting list will be created once the course cap of 25 is reached.

Course evaluation

Undergraduate Evaluation:
Marks are allocated in the following proportions: midterm (20%), final exam (35%), field project proposal (10%), field project oral report (30%), field participation (5%)

Graduate Evaluation:
Graduate students may choose to take the same course as BIOL632. Graduate students will write a 20 pg. term paper (i.e. literature review) and present this as a 20 minute seminar to the class instead of writing a final exam. Marks for graduate students will be allocated in the following proportions: midterm (20%), field project proposal (10%), field project oral report (30%), term-paper (25%) and seminar (15%).

Website: Carole Verdone-Smith, Department of Biology
Last update: May 11, 2018