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The paper discusses the relative frequency of topics of study in Italy, through the bibliography compiled by Emilio Corti, an assistant professor at the Zoology Institute of the University of Pavia, covering the period 1850–1933, compared with those obtained from the world literature from the database of Web of Knowledge by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) of Thomson Reuters, for the period 1945–2005. Corti's bibliography, which has never been published, is kept in the Archives of the Pavia University Museum and comprises around 5500 papers covering various aspects of hydrobiology, fish and fish farming. Altogether what emerged was a methodical, complex study, providing a wealth of information even though made up solely of bibliographic references. Today it represents a significant source of consultation for anyone interested in the history of science and zoogeography. The comparison of Corti's topics with those of the 1945–2005 period confirmed (1) an overall increase in most research topics, (2) that some research topics, especially related to human activities, increased more than the others, (3) that the studies on malaria showed a peculiar trend, and that (4) organisms-based research did not diminish its importance through time.
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