Skip directly to: Main page content

 Charles Goldman




PhD:  1958, Limnology and Fisheries, University of Michigan

M.S.: 1955, Zoology, University of Illinois,Urbana

BA: 1952, Geology, University of Illinois, Urbana


Charles Goldman's fields of interest include global studies of freshwater lakes with emphasis on biological, chemical and physical interactions between the surrounding watersheds and lakes. Particular emphasis has been on eutrophication of lakes, nutrient limiting factors, the impact of climate and weather, and the use and importance of long term data sets in environmental research utilizing nearly four decades of research on Castle Lake and Lake Tahoe in California. The most recent overseas research has been at Lake Baikal in Russia, where he has made seven expeditions. The core research has been directed towards a better understanding of lake processes and measures to preserve the water quality of lakes.

He developed the first courses in limnology and oceanography at UCD, served as Chair of the Division of Environmental Studies from 1988-1992, and was founding Director of the Institute of Ecology, serving from 1966-1969 and again in 1990-92.  Prior to his 40-year tenure at UC Davis, he earned Bachelor and Masters degrees from the University of Illinois and a Ph.D. in Limnology-Fisheries from the University of Michigan. 

He has supervised 86 graduate students and 30 postdoctorals during his 40 years at UC Davis.  Professor Goldman's many prestigious awards include an NSF Senior Postdoctoral Fellowship in 1964 for limnological research in the Arctic (Lapland), a Guggenheim Fellowship in northern Italy in 1965, the "Goldman Glacier" in Antarctica named in 1967, served as President of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography in 1967-68, awarded the Antarctic Service Medal by Congress in 1968, and elected a Fellow by the California Academy of Sciences in 1969.  In 1973-74, he was elected Vice President of the Ecological Society of America, and accepted a Fulbright Distinguished Professorship to Yugoslavia in 1985.  He was awarded the Vollenweider Lectureship in Canada in 1989, the Chevron Conservation Award and Culver Man-of-the Year in 1991, the Earle A. Chiles Award in 1992, and the UC Davis Distinguished Public Service & Research Lecturer awards in 1993.

He was elected Vice President of the International Society of Limnology (SIL) for 1992-98, and presented the prestigious Baldi Lecture at the triennial SIL Congress in Ireland in August 1998.  Dr. Goldman has published four books and over 400 scientific articles, and has produced four documentary films which are in worldwide distribution.  He has served on many national and international committees and is frequently sought for consultation and research missions to foreign countries on major environmental problems.  In 1990 he was a member of a UNESCO team to qualify Lake Baikal as an International Heritage Lake and Senior Scientist for the National Geographic Baikal project. 

His single most important and sustained contribution is the 40 years of research on Lake Tahoe.  Professor Goldman is Director of the Tahoe Research Group and has pursued long-term ecological research simultaneously at Lake Tahoe and Castle Lake, California, since 1958.  He successfully combined effective research and social action with his pioneering studies of lake eutrophication.  These have been directly applied to engineering solutions, social needs, and legal decisions.  This work has recently included the development of artificial wetlands and research on alternatives to conventional road salt for deicing highways. 

This relationship of basic science to political change has been of particular importance to the Lake Tahoe basin.  During the summer of 1997, Dr. Goldman hosted President Clinton and Vice President Gore aboard the UC Davis research vessel John Le Conte during the Lake Tahoe Presidential Forum.  Similar studies have extended Dr. Goldman's research-social action efforts to analysis of lakes like Baikal in Russia and hydroelectric impoundments throughout the world.  Thus, while aggressively pursuing basic research on lake dynamics, he has also been able to translate the findings directly to state, national and international policy decisions, contributing decisively to the conservation and judicious use of aquatic resources from the Antarctic to the lakes and wetlands of South and Central America, New Guinea, Africa, Asia, Europe and the United States. 

Professor Goldmans career work has now been honored with his most prestigious award yet: he received the 1998 Albert Einstein World Award of Science in a formal ceremony last year in New Zealand.  The Einstein Award, bestowed annually to a single individual by a council of eminent scientists which includes 25 Nobel laureates, recognizes those who have accomplished scientific and technological achievements that have advanced scientific understanding and benefited humanity.

Selected Publications:

Goldman, C.R., J.J. Elser, R.C. Richards, J.E. Reuter, J.C. Priscu and A.L. Levin. 1996. Thermal stratification, nutrient dynamics, and phytoplankton productivity during the onset of spring phytoplankton growth in Lake Baikal, Russia. Hydrobiologia .

Goldman, C.R. 1993. The conservation of two large lakes: Tahoe and Baikal. Verh. Internat. Verein. Limnol. 25:388-391.

Goldman, C.R., A.D. Jassby and S.H. Hackley. 1993. Decadal, interannual, and seasonal variability in enrichment bioassays at Lake Tahoe, California-Nevada, USA. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 50(7):1489-1496.

Goldman, C.R., A. Jassby and T. Powell. 1989. Interannual fluctuations in primary production: Meteorological forcing at two subalpine lakes. Limnol. Oceanogr. 34(2):310-323.

Goldman, C.R. 1988. Primary productivity, nutrients, and transparency during the early onset of eutrophication in ultra-oligotrophic Lake Tahoe, California-Nevada. Limnol. Oceanogr. 33(6, part 1):1321-1333.


Dr. Goldman teaches the following upper-division courses.

EST 151. Limnology (4) III . Lecture - 3 hours; discussion--1 hour; special project. Prerequisite: Biological Sciences 1A and junior standing. The biology and productivity of inland waters with emphasis on the physical and chemical environment.

EST 151L. Limnology Laboratory (3) III. Laboratory--6 hours; two weekend field trips. Prerequisite: course 151 (may be taken concurrently); junior, senior, or graduate standing. Limnological studies of lakes, streams, and reservoirs with interpretation of aquatic ecology.