The paper summarizes the state of knowledge and the evolution of the researches on benthic macroinvertebrates ofItalian mountain lakes, and identifies key aspects that need to be further explored. Mountain lakes have been investigatedsince the end of the XIX century. In the beginning, studies focused mainly on their geography, geology, geomorphologyand hydrology. Only lately, interests arise on their hydro-chemistry and biology, in relation to water acidification and, inrare cases, to eutrophication. In particular, in the 1920s, the studies dealt mainly on lake basins morphology and theirgenesis. Later, researches were driven mainly by the growing need of hydroelectric power plants, shifting the attention ontheir hydrological and geological aspects. Nonetheless, more detailed limno-biological studies began in confined areas.During the 1960s, attention was redirected to the alpine environment in terms of environmental awareness, for the creationof parks, and to analyse the alteration of water quality caused by the deposition of transported pollutants from thelowlands. This created the opportunity to combine observations on both the hydro-chemical and biological aspects, toreach a synoptic view of these environments. It is only in the mid-1990s that ISI journals came to power and, striving forhigher visibility, strongly promoted the production of papers. In this decade, the application of paleo-limnology, thecreation of a long term ecological research network, the never abandoned idea of implementing best practice managementfor freshwaters conservation purposes, and the growing attention on the global climatic change gave new impulse to thestudies on mountain lakes. Since the 2000s, biodiversity preservation, biological recovery, environmental key-drivers(mainly nitrogen increase) have become the new focus of the current research activities.


Alps, Apennines, limnology, geographic distribution, historical perspective

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