Limnology--Biology 3135
Spring 2016

INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Jerry Skinner; Capwell Hall 211; 945-8404. email:
Office Hours:  M-T-R 11-12; W-F 10-12; and by appointment.  

CLASS MEETINGS: Lecture: M-F 1230-145 pm  (compressed schedule meeting time:  130-220 pm)  Capwell 209; Lab: Thursday  2:00-4:50 pm (compressed schedule meeting time:  2:15-4:50 pm) in Capwell 202. 


Freshwater Ecology (ISBN10: 0123747244; ISBN13: 9780123747242)

Dodds, W. and M. Whiles.  2010.  Freshwater Ecology:  Concepts & Environmental Applications of Limnology, 2nd edition.   Academic Press, Boston.  811 pp.  ISBN 978-0-12-374724-2

Peckarsky, B. L. et al.  1990.  Freshwater Macroinvertebrates of Northeastern North America.  Comstock Publishing, Ithaca.  442 pp.  ISBN 978-0-8014-9688-2

CATALOG DESCRIPTION:  Investigates lakes, reservoirs, ponds, and streams as dynamic. Considers the physical, chemical, geological, and biological components of aquatic ecosystems. Emphasizes quantitative sampling and analytical techniques.

COURSE OBJECTIVES: Upon completion of this course, you will

  • possess a basic understanding of general relationships between aquatic organisms and their environment;
  • posses the skills to perform standard field techniques;
  • improve your ability to read and write in acceptable scientific style; 
  • become familiar with the current limnological literature, computer searches, indices, and electronic sources.
  • be able to apply all these skills in assessing and interpreting man's past and future impact on aquatic ecosystems.

Through laboratory assignments, you will write extensively! All lab exercises will require literature searches, the proper citation of your sources in accepted scientific style, and analysis of data using computerized statistical programs. All assignments must be typed with NO grammatical or spelling errors.

Week    Topic Read Lab Topic
Jan 18 Course business; origin of lakes; Pennsylvania geology 1 Heat budget of a lake
  25 Properties of water   Water chemistry techniques
Feb 1 Light in lakes   Lake morphometry
  8 Dissolved materials:  gases, carbon, pH, alkalinity   Water chemistry

No class Monday--Presidents' Day

Nitrogen and phosphorus

  Algae, phytoplankton, diatoms

Frozen Lake Manataka Data


Heat and stratification

  Primary productivity
  29 Algae   Zooplankton I


Spring Break    
  21 Primary production:  population dynamics, seasonal cycles   Zooplankton II 

No class Easter monday

ooplankton:  taxonomy, population dynamics, seasonal cycles

  Benthos I
Apr 4 The benthic community   Benthos II
  11 The pelagic community   Macrophytes

Fish and fish ecology


  No lab meeting this week
  25 Paleolimnology; Human influences on aquatic ecosystems

Project presentations


Fish ID; food habits

Riffle analysis

May 2 Finals week; date TBA    

Occasionally you will be assigned readings outside of your textbook. These will be left on reserve in the library, online, or in some other readily available place.

About labs: The lab schedule is quite tentative.   Some are indoor activities and some are outdoors. Unfortunately, due to the vagaries of the weather, I will probably not decide about the week's lab until the day or two before. What this means to you, for example, is that we will not work in streams after a rain. Also, you should come to labs in field clothes--this means you should expect to get wet, dirty, cold, sweaty, etc. Bring along a change of clothes, rain gear, etc. if necessary. Expect to go outside every lab. This doesn't mean that we will, but I don't want to see someone in a skirt, shorts or flip-flops on lab day.

Grading Policy

3 Exams @100 pts   300
Lab Reports     300
2 Abstracts @10 pts     20
Aquatic Biota Collection 150 pts   150
Algal slides/photos 80 pts     80
Participation 25 pts per half semester     50
Total     900
A 93-100% C+ 77-79.99
A- 90-92.99 C 73-76.99
B+ 87-89.99 C- 70-72.99
B 83-86.99 D+ 67-69.99
B- 80-82.99 D 60-66.99
    F <60.00

Attendance and due dates: Your presence is expected at EVERY lecture and lab. You will notice that attendance is not included in the grading scale. You do not gain points by carrying out your responsibility in showing up. There will be no makeup tests without a verifiable excuse of a very serious nature. Makeups will be at my convenience and will be an oral test. Late assignments will not be accepted for any reason. Assignments are due AT THE BEGINNING OF CLASS on the due date. If they come in after that time, they are late.

The Fine Print:

Keystone College does not discriminate in any of its programs on the basis of disability. While there is not a deadline for the disclosure of a disability by a student, in order to facilitate the documentation and accommodation processes, students are encouraged to voluntarily and confidentially disclose and disability requiring an accommodation prior to the beginning of class. This disclosure should be made to the Coordinator of Disability Services.  Students who disclose a disability, and who are seeking an accommodation, ultimately will be expected to provide documentation verifying the disability.

Academic Honesty – Division of Natural Science and Mathematics
All students are subject to the College's policy and procedure on academic dishonesty;  see the current Keystone College catalog. 
The Natural Science and Mathematics Division recognizes that any form or degree of academic dishonesty challenges the principles of truth and honesty which are among the most important founding principles of science and mathematics discovery.  Keystone College treats academic dishonesty as a serious violation of academic trust.  It penalizes all students found to have engaged in such behavior.
Academic honesty within the College and the Natural Science and Mathematics Division must be a cooperative enterprise of faculty, students and administrators. Acts of academic dishonesty include but are not limited to the following:

  1. The illegitimate use of study materials or electronic devices in any form during a quiz or examination.
  2. Copying answers from the quiz or examination paper of another student.
  3. Plagiarizing or falsifying materials or information used in the completion of any assignment which is graded or evaluated as the student's individual effort. Plagiarism includes submitting as one's own the ideas or work of another, including the laboratory data, written materials or the computer files of another, regardless of whether that information is used verbatim or in paraphrased form.  The same applies to anything derived from the Internet, including research papers purchased online. 
  4. Obtaining, through theft, bribery, or collusion, or otherwise improperly securing an examination paper prior to the time and date for the administration of the examination. Also, use of an examination paper previously administered (e.g., during an earlier term) without the consent of the instructor who authored the examination.
  5. Impersonating a candidate at an examination or availing oneself of such an impersonation in any traditional or online class. 
  6. Intentionally interfering with any person's scholastic work, for example, by damaging or stealing laboratory experiments, computer data files or library materials.
  7. It is presumed that material submitted by a student for an assignment is original to that assignment and, therefore, submitting the same work for more than one course without the consent of the instructors of each course in which the work is submitted is considered dishonest.  Submission of previously graded work from prior assignments is considered dishonest. 
  8. Aiding or abetting any act of academic dishonesty including but not limited to such offenses as described above.

Any student caught cheating, or using someone’s work as their own, will be reported to the Academic Dean of the College.  A grade of zero will be recorded for that assignment/test/quiz. For more information on dishonest acts including plagiarism, cheating, and fraud, consult your Student Information Guide.

Keystone College states that all official student email correspondence be sent only to a student’s Keystone email address and that faculty and staff consider email from students official only if it originates from a Keystone account. This allows the College to maintain a high degree of confidence in the identity of all individuals and the security of transmitted information.  Keystone College furnishes each student with a free email account that is to be used in all communication with College personnel

The College has set deadlines for withdrawing from courses. These dates and times are published in the course catalog and on the Academic Calendar. It is the student's responsibility to handle withdrawal requirements from any class. The proper paperwork must be completed to ensure that you will not receive a final grade of "F" in a course if you choose not to attend once you are enrolled. If you are considering withdrawing from a class, consult your Advisor and refer to the College Catalog.

An “I” (Incomplete) will only be given under extenuating circumstances.  It will not be given to students who simply fail to do the work or miss an exam.  If an “I” is given, students must complete the work within four weeks into the following semester, or receive a grade of “F” for the course.

Keystone College offers tutoring assistance for many of its courses. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, consult the Tutoring Center.