G. Evelyn Hutchinson
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G. Evelyn Hutchinson

George Evelyn Hutchinson (b. 1903, d. 1991), a professor beloved at Yale for 43 years, was born in England. Hutchinson’s wide academic interests included the humanities as well as the sciences, but he was primarily an aquatic ecologist, focusing particularly on lake ecology. Also known as the father of modern limnology, he grew up while the field of limnology was evolving and began his university education a year before the founding of the International Limnological Association. 

He also contributed to the development of several other fields of science, and his understanding of geochemistry as well as biology gave him an unusual command of biogeochemistry. Hutchinson communicated equally well with oceanographers, geochemists, anthropologists, paleontologists, sociologists and behaviorists, but also was at home with artists, writers and musicians. He was a student at Cambridge, became a professor at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg in 1925, and arrived at Yale University in 1928 as a Post-Doctoral Fellow. He enjoyed a distinguished career at Yale, becoming the Sterling Professor of Zoology. While at Yale, he developed courses in natural history, general ecology, limnology and biogeochemistry. 

On his arrival in New Haven, he surveyed local lakes looking for suitable research sites and found Linsley Pond in Branford, Connecticut, which provided excellent material for him and his students. As word spread of his presence, graduate students interested in working with him began arriving, and until his retirement in 1971, doctoral degrees were finished under his direction at the rate of about one per year. He and his students worked in that area for the rest of his career, and Yale researchers, notably Peabody Vertebrate Zoology Curator David Skelly, still work there today.