On the occasion of the 35th year from the publication of the first issue of the Proceedings of the Italian Association of Limnology and Oceanography (AIOL) we present here the results of a meta-analysis of all of the material included in the AIOL Proceedings, with the aim of analysing the last 30 years history of aquatic science in Italy as mirrored by the science presented by the AIOL members. The results of this meta-analysis were presented in September 2006 in Paris, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the ‘Institut oce´anographique, fondation Albert Ier, prince de Monaco’. We have screened the 17 volumes of the Proceedings and classified the articles into papers dealing with: (i) Biology and Ecology; (ii) Chemistry; (iii) Physics, and (iv) Geology, which represent the most relevant ‘disciplines’ of the AIOL. The articles were also classified as ‘oceanographic’ or ‘limnological’ papers, including all marine and freshwater aspects, respectively. Articles were finally classified on the basis of the environment where the studies were carried out: the water column or the benthic environment. The results of this analysis highlight the presence of wide fluctuations in the number of publications produced by the AIOL scientific community during more then three decades of the activity of the association in Italy. We also show that these fluctuations were associated with variable fluctuations in the availability of funding for aquatic research. The overall picture of the scientific outputs of the AIOL members as revealed by the analysis of the papers published on the AIOL Proceedings indicates that the Association had a fruitful activity during the last part of the past century, but experienced a major flaw during the first years of this century. Only in the last few years such activity restarted, thus giving rise to a possible new deal in the development of aquatic science in Italy.
limnology; oceanography; aquatic sciences; Italy