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History of the Einar Naumann Laboratory

The Aneboda field station
Aneboda field station has been used for limnology courses for more than a hundred years. It was here Einar Naumann, the person who was appointed the first limnology professor chair in the world, did a lot of his research.

A yellow house situated at the shore of a lake.
The Einar Naumann Laboratory

Our field station in Småland

Probably a minority of biologists at Lund University have ever heard of the Aneboda field station, or its official name, the Einar Naumann Laboratory. Even fewer have been there. The Biology department has two field stations, in addition to the one in Aneboda also Stensoffa on the Revinge military training grounds east of Lund.

Aneboda is a small village, nowadays with not much more than a church, an expanding cemetery, some farms and many Falu red summer houses. Aneboda is situated close to Lammhult a few tens of km north of Växjö, one of the major cities in the province of Småland. Småland, as most of Sweden, is dominated by coniferous forests and a vast number of lakes, mostly small, nutrient-poor and many with brown-coloured water. In sharp contrast to the calcareous, nutrient-rich lakes which are found in the Scanian agricultural landscape.

An old photo in black and white with men holding wood barrels.
Transport of cultured cyprinids in wooden barrels

The ideal location for aquaculture

In the end of the 19th century a German count, Carl Wendt, established extensive pond aquaculture near Perstorp in Scania, with export of tench to Germany. This idea caught on and various fisheries authorities and organizations, as well as private persons, formed the South Swedish Fisheries Organization (Södra Sveriges Fiskeriförening, SSFF) to promote aquaculture, inland fisheries, and education in pond aquaculture.

Various locations for a demonstration facility, also commercializing pond reared fish, were discussed. Partly through the initiative of Carl M Peterson in Ugglehult, close to Aneboda, an extremely active farmer, fish farmer, lecturer and member of the Swedish parliament, it was decided that Aneboda would be an ideal location with plenty of lakes and land available for ponds. 

The rise of Aneboda field station

In Aneboda a large number of ponds, which could be drained, were quickly established and buildings for the staff, students, laboratories etc. were erected. The experimental station was inaugurated in 1906. In 1910 a botanist from Lund, Einar Naumann (born 1891), was employed as a “biologist” to make research with bearing on aquaculture and lake fisheries. He returned every summer until 1934, when he sadly took his own life. Naumann thus had a short, but nonetheless a very impressive academic career. He established his own laboratory on the shore of lake Stråken on land that was donated by his wife´s father, a local farmer.

An old black and white photo of a man standing in his shirt sleeves in a field.
Einar Naumann in Aneboda 1924

The laboratory was ready in 1927 and two years later it was incorporated into Lund University. It is a very interesting building, with glass-roofed wings, a greenhouse and other facilities which were used for Naumann´s experimental work. Einar Naumann was in 1929 appointed professor in limnology at LU, the first limnology chair in the world. He had broad limnological interests and was a pioneer in establishing the relation between nutrient status and phytoplankton development, as well as the dependence of lake ecosystems on their catchments, leading to lake classification or typology. 

A yellow house.
The annex “Solhäll” bought by LU in the 1980´s

From fishery to limnology courses

The interest in carp and other cyprinids for human consumption in Sweden was reduced to almost zero after the two world wars, when marine fisheries took over. This change in interest for freshwater fish eventually lead to the decline and closing of SSFF, both the aquaculture facility, and the fisheries courses. However, the Einar Naumann laboratory has survived. 

Yellow, red and blue lake water.
One of “Die Schwedische Konjakseen (“the Swedish brandy lakes”) common in the Aneboda area.

Limnology courses have used the field station without interruption for more than a hundred years. The exteriors of the buildings have changed little since Naumann’s days, but an interior modernization was made a few years ago. In the 1980’s an adjacent villa, Solhäll, was bought by LU, increasing the number of beds. Although the field station can be used also during winter, it is mainly a summer half-year facility, not only for limnology courses, but also for terrestrial field courses, as well as for meetings, as a base for field work and much more. 

White flowers in a lake.
A clear-water lake in the Aneboda area with flowering Lobelia dortmanna (notblomster)

Wilhelm Graneli
Professor emeritus

Literature to read (in Swedish unfortunately)

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