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The limnological research conducted at the Istituto Italiano di Idrobiologia over the last 75 years has taken an ecological and interdisciplinary approach, addressing the interdependence of chemical, physical and biological aspects of freshwaters. In this paper we have tried to reconstruct the evolution of this historic Institute’s activities, analyzing how theoretical and applied limnology have coexisted as the interests of researchers and funding agencies have changed. Theoretical developments of great ecological interest and effective models for the management of inland waters have emerged from this coexistence. Our aim is to trace the co-development of theoretical and applied limnology through the institute’s scientific output and to indicate the future direction of limnological research.
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