Skip to main content

Careers in Fresh-Water Ecology

Careers in Fresh-Water Ecology

Fresh-water ecology seeks to understand the relationship between organisms and their environment, and how changes in one part of the system will affect other parts of the system. Many kinds of scientific and communication skills are necessary to understand successfully the ecology of freshwater ecosystems ; therefore, career opportunities are numerous.

Broad Scientific Disciplines

Traditionally, many fields of biological expertise, such as fisheries biologists, entomologists , and botanists, are required to examine aquatic and terrestrial communities of living organisms associated with lakes, streams, and wetlands . Physical scientists, such as hydrologists, meteorologists, chemists, or toxicologists, also are needed to understand how aquatic ecosystems operate. Scientists with differing emphases on spatial and temporal scales are important. Soil scientists and microbiologists examine organisms at microscopic scales, whereas ornithologists , mammalogists, or herpetologists must include large spatial ranges to incorporate activities of their study organisms. Geoscientists provide a spatial and temporal (time) perspective and give insight into patterns at regional and even global scales. Other scientists help integrate information: statisticians and theoretical mathematicians assist with analysis and developing abstract models of how the ecosystem functions.

Links to Decision-Making

All the professions mentioned above may be pursued in government agencies, with private consultants, or with research institutions such as universities. Many aquatic scientists are researchers and also educators, managers, or consultants to decisionmakers.

Experts trained in both science and relevant policies are important for conserving and restoring fresh-water systems. These might be people with backgrounds in economics, law, geography, or sociology. They help scientists convey information to the public and to lawmakers. As communities become more involved in activities such as restoring populations of threatened species, maintaining vital natural resources, and conducting comprehensive land-use planning, there will be a steady need for fresh-water scientists with good communication and negotiation skills.

see also Ecology, Fresh-Water; Fisheries, Fresh-Water; Forest Hydrology; Geospatial Technologies; Lake Health, Assessing; Lakes: Biological Processes; Stream Health, Assessing; Wetlands.

Judith Li


Jeffries, Michael, and Derek Henry Mills. Freshwater Ecology: Principles and Applications. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1995.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Careers in Fresh-Water Ecology." Water:Science and Issues. . 23 Mar. 2019 <>.

"Careers in Fresh-Water Ecology." Water:Science and Issues. . (March 23, 2019).

"Careers in Fresh-Water Ecology." Water:Science and Issues. . Retrieved March 23, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.