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Election Year: 1950
Scientific Discipline: Evolutionary Biology
Membership Type: Member
George Evelyn Hutchinson pioneered research on the biogeochemistry of freshwater lakes and is considered the father of limnology. He studied the flow of nutrients in aquatic ecosystems using radioactive phosphorus, founding the field of radioecology. He also observed that horizontal movements in stratified lakes are essential to the cycling of nutrients from the upper layer of water to the lower layer. The fields of paleolimnology and paleoecology are attributed to Hutchinson as well; he assessed the biogeochemical history of lakes around the world by analyzing core samples and microfossils.
Hutchinson was a student at the University of Cambridge and went on to teach at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. In 1928 he attended Yale University as a postdoctoral fellow. He remained at Yale and was named the Sterling Professor of Zoology.