Albert R. Mann Library
Inland Waters: James G. Needham and the Origins of Cornell Limnology

“Stated simply, limnology is the study of the structural and functional interrelationships of organisms of inland waters as their dynamic physical, chemical, and biotic environments affect them.”
- Robert G. Wetzel
“What is Limnology?”

In the spring semester of 1908, James G. Needham taught the first limnology course at Cornell University. There is little doubt that this was the first limnology course offered in the United States, and it may very well have been the first in the world.

From that single course, the program Needham established has flourished, and significant research in limnology and related areas continues at Cornell today.

James Needham and his students in the 1930s