Dr. R.W. Larimore Stream Ecology Internship


The family and friends of Dr. R. Weldon Larimore have established a legacy fund in honor of his long and distinguished career at the Illinois Natural History Survey (1946-2002) and the University of Illinois (1969-1988). Dr. Larimore was a pre-eminent researcher in the area of stream ecology and a pioneer in many research techniques used today. His research took him all over the world, but Dr. Larimore’s passion was the study of Jordan Creek in Vermilion County, Illinois. The establishment of this fund is to maintain ongoing research in stream ecology, a vital and important part of natural history and aquatic biology.

This scholarship award totaling up to $4,000 will be made available every other year to support an undergraduate researcher. In the event that no suitable proposals are received, the committee reserves the right not to fund any proposal in the current year. The review committee will hold all applications in confidence.


In July 1950, R. Weldon (Larry) Larimore and Leonard Durham of the Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) waded into Jordan Creek near Fairmount, IL with what was then a newly developed electric seine. From the mouth of Jordan Creek where it empties into the Salt Fork of the Vermilion River, Larimore and Durham moved upstream for four miles systematically measuring and numbering each pool and ripple and collecting, marking, and releasing fish.

This simple beginning to aquatic research on Jordan Creek more than 70 years ago came to spawn a legacy of data collection and significant publications that continues in the 21st century. In addition to Larimore and Durham, a number of budding INHS scientists cut their research teeth on Jordan Creek and went on to become leaders in aquatic biology. These include Quentin Pickering, William Childers, Carl Heckrote, David Menzel, Charles Goldman, Michael Duever, John Peterka, David McGinty, David Andrews, Gary Camenisch, Paul Angermeier, Isaac Schlosser, and Martin Jennings, among others. James Karr worked with several of these biologists and Jordan Creek data to develop the widely used Index of Biological Integrity. There are few places on earth that have been as intensively studied over time as Jordan Creek.

Region map showing the location of Jordan Creek ( Red ) in relation to other major watersheds in the local region.


Region map displaying the different landuse types within the Jordan Creek watershed ( black outline ) and the diversity of the watershed.

Dr. Larimore believed in investing in the future of aquatic ecology, particularly in supporting young researchers. He mentored many graduate students and young professionals who have gone on to be amazing researchers themselves. In 2002, his friends and family honored Dr. Larimore honored with an endowment in his name. The endowment entitled the “R. Weldon Larimore/Jordan Creek Endowment Fund” was created to help perpetuate aquatic research on Jordan Creek. This bi-annual award is available to undergraduate students from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to get involved in aquatic biology research on  Jordan Creek.

Jordan Creek during peak summer productivity
A map of the greater region showing the location of Jordan Creek (Red dot next to the Wabash Watershed) in relation to major watersheds and adjacent states.

Selected R. Weldon Larimore Research Reports

List of Endowment Fund Recipients and Projects

Application Procedure


Currently enrolled full-time undergraduate students at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana are eligible to apply. Those in degree programs in environmental sciences, natural resources, biology, animal biology, entomology, geography, or other relevant fields will receive the highest consideration.

The next award will be available in March 2024.

Application Materials

  1. Resume
  2. Current unofficial transcripts that detail courses taken and grades received.
  3. Two letters of recommendation submitted directly from the letter writers to Dr. Cao

Application Instructions

  • Applicants and letter writers  should submit materials  to Dr. Yong Cao at yongcao@illinois.edu
  • Include the email subject: Stream Ecology Summer Internship
  • Attach all application materials as PDF files


Please direct any questions about the Larimore Stream Ecology Internship to Dr. Yong Cao at
217-244-6847 or yongcao@illinois.edu.