Limnology in Turkey

Akbulut N. (.

LIMNOLOGY IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, VOL 4, vol.4, pp.171-218, 2004 (SCI-Expanded) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 4
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED)
  • Page Numbers: pp.171-218
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: No


Turkey, located between 35 degrees 51' and 42 degrees 06' N latitude and 25 degrees 40' and 44 degrees 48' E longitude, and covers an area of 814578 km(2). It has a population of approximately 70 million inhabitants. Turkey is divided into seven major geographical regions, each with a distinct climate, topography and biota. Typical Mediterranean climate is dominant in the western and southern part of Anatolia and the continental climatic conditions appear in the inner parts of the Anatolia. Turkey displays a great variation in topography and special land forms. Mountain chains extend over hundreds of kilometres in the north and south; vast plains occur within the tectonic basins. Turkey has 26 river basins, 200 natural lakes with a total area of 500,000 ha. The number of dams is 794 and the total area of reservoirs is 150,000 ha; the number of ponds is 700 with an area of 1500 ha and numerous lagoons. More than 75 reservoirs have been constructed on most of the rivers primarily to generate hydroelectric power. Limnological studies began in the early 20(th) Century but progressed very slowly. In Turkey freshwater and artificial lakes have been investigated much more than salt lakes because their water can be used for several different purposes. Water birds are the best known group in Turkey, and their taxonomy, distribution and biology are well understood. There are also many taxonomic studies on fish and aquatic macroinvertebrates; phytoplankton and zooplankton have also been investigated in many lakes of the country. However, detailed limnological studies are rare. Studies on lotic systems are limited to physico-chemical characteristics of water and biotic inventories. Aquatic microbiology remains neglected. There are many legal instruments that relate to nature conservation in general and (directly or indirectly) affect habitats and species. The Environment Law (1983) and the related Decree-Law concerning the establishment and functions of the Ministry of Environment (1991) are the major legal instruments regulating environmental conservation in Turkey. Creation of research institutes in major regions of the country would promote research as well as education and training in limnology.