Jürgen Benndorf (1941-2011)

Jürgen Benndorf (1941-2011)

Benndorf, JürgenWe wish to commemorate our scientific teacher and mentor, Prof. Dr. Jürgen Benndorf, who passed away shortly after his 70th birthday on October 30, 2011, in Dresden, Germany. He has been full professor for Limnology at Technische Universität Dresden (TU Dresden) from 1993 to 2008.

Jürgen Benndorf was internationally a highly recognized researcher. He published more than 170 scientific papers in international and national scientific journals. Within SIL, he is certainly the best known for his seminal papers on lake biomanipulation and food web control which were among the very first propagating this eco-technology to improve the quality of standing waters. With this work, Jürgen Benndorf also expressed his deeply rooted motivation that scientific research, in its best form, can help resolving practical problems. Thus, Jürgen always argued that basic and applied researches should not be considered distinct branches, but need fruitful discussion and exchange across disciplines. His personal scientific career reflects this duality. Born on 12 October 1941, he studied biology at Leipzig University (1962-1967), and obtained his PhD (Dr. rer. nat.) in hydrobi­ology at Technische Universität Dresden in 1971. During the subsequent years as assistant and docent, Dr. Benndorf developed unique scientific contributions such as the calculation of phosphate elimination using one of the first mathematical simulation models for pelagic processes in lakes (SALMO).

Jürgen Benndorf was very active to propagate his scientific achieve­ments. Under the difficult publishing conditions in East Germany before the re-unification in 1990, he became co-editor of the Limnologica, an internationally established and acknowledged limnological journal. This journal has continued to keep the dual scope on basic and applied limnology, following the original intentions of the pioneering editors, including Jürgen Benndorf.

Jürgen Benndorf was also a highly appreciated university teacher. His lectures on Basic and Applied Limnology and Biochemical Ecology were constantly among those ranked highest by his students, primarily because he was teaching theory and practice in an elegant, unified way. Furthermore, he actively managed and substantially contributed to the re-organization of the hydroscience department at Dresden University after Germany’s re-unification. During this time, Jürgen continuously argued that students of hydrobiology can profit from the strong interdisciplinarity with students of water engineering and vice versa, which is now typical for the education at TU Dresden. Accordingly, many of his students hold now prominent positions in the fields of water research and management. Also after his retirement in 2008, Prof. Benndorf continued as an active member of the scientific community and contributed by mentoring students.

We have lost in Jürgen Benndorf an active researcher, teacher and a mentor who strongly influenced the scientific development of many of us. Jürgen Benndorf was well known as critical thinker, enthusiastic opponent in discussions, as a man with clear principles, and a passionate trout angler. We will honour him in memory.