An archive for the history of limnology in Verbania Pallanza (Northern Italy)



Since 2010, work has been underway to curate and catalogue the historical documentation archive of the Verbania Pallanza section of the CNR Water Research Institute, located on the shores of Lake Maggiore in the Italian subalpine area. Italian limnology took its first steps here in the first half of the 1900s with the activity of Marco De Marchi. It then developed professionally from 1938 with the foundation of the Italian Institute of Hydrobiology, based in De Marchi's villa in Verbania Pallanza. The curation of the archives dating from these earliest times to the present has been done with professional archivist technicians from the Archival Superintendence and in collaboration with researchers from the Institute. The archived documents include those from the first phase of the organization of the Institute, as well as those derived from scientific and administrative activities and exchanges with the Ministry of Education. The documents also cover activities at a second section of the Institute, located in an ancient historical residence in Varenna, on the shores of Lake Como. The archive has a photographic section, which includes a series of photographic glass plates, digitized to allow for current use, containing photos of the Institute's environments and laboratories at different times through its history. A third section of the archive consists of around 50 interviews with aquatic scientists on topics related to research projects carried out in the past. A further section concerns the recording of about 150 seminars on environmental research carried out in the institute between 2015 and 2020. The main research topics considered concern physical, chemical and biological limnology, with particular attention to Lake Maggiore, Lake Orta (severely polluted in the past due to industrial waste), and high-altitude lakes in the Alps. The Institute also houses a library dedicated to environmental issues and some miscellaneous papers by the most important scholars of freshwater science in Italy, with publications starting from the second half of the nineteenth century. Other collections of archival interest are a museum of field and laboratory instruments, and a collection of biological samples, mainly plankton, collected in various Italian lakes.



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80 Years of the Journal of Limnology
historical archive, limnology, lakes, Italy, history of science, plankton ecology
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How to Cite
Mosello R. An archive for the history of limnology in Verbania Pallanza (Northern Italy). J Limnol [Internet]. 2021 Sep. 24 [cited 2021 Oct. 18];. Available from:

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