Our Society is an international non‐profit organization dedicated to advancing limnology for the benefit of all. It is with this principle in mind that the congress co‐chairs Cristiana Callieri, Luigi Naselli‐Flores and myself started organizing the 33rd SIL Congress with the goal of producing a scientifically relevant event, taking into account the interdisciplinary nature of limnology, promoting a large attendance of colleagues (in particular of young scientists), and ensuring the self sufficiency of the congress. We kept the registration fees as low as possible, and we put a lot of effort in the preparation of the program and the conference logistics. We also tried to ensure the best use of revenues from subscriptions, reducing as much as possible unnecessary expenses and seeking additional funds, to offer participants extra benefits tuned to possible additional revenues.
The congress statistics let us believe we achieved the goal. This belief was supported by the 816 participants from 58 countries coming to Torino, thanks to the appealing program but also to the low registration fees, at least 1/3 lower than in previous congresses. 36% of attendants were students or colleagues early in career, facilitated by the low registration fees (200 and 250 € for members and non‐SIL members, respectively). The interest in limnology was confirmed by the participation of numerous non‐SIL members (58%). This suggests that there is room for the further growth and development of SIL.
The appeal of the plenary lectures and the speakers, listed below, certainly contributed to achieving the objective:
Coaxing lakes to conduct experiments: palaeolimnology and the acid rain debate.
Baldi Memorial Lecture, Rick Battarbee
Ecological isolation despite physical connectedness: evolution‐dependent species richness in large and deep lakes.
Kilham Memorial Lecture, Ole Seehausen.
Histories of cyanobacteria from a northern country: redefining limnological “nordicity”.
Frances R. Pick
Climate change and stoichiometric implications for zooplankton.
Challenges and opportunities for research and management in Mediterranean‐climate rivers.
Limnology in the 21st century: incorporating data‐intensive research, open science, and team science to address broad‐scale problems.
Kendra Spence Cheruvelil
Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in miniature worlds.
Climate change and multiple stressors in agricultural streams.
Winner of SIL Students Competition, Jeremy J. Piggott
A novelty of this conference was the kick‐off plenary lecture, held by Professor Christian Greco, Director of the Egyptian Museum in Torino with the title: Water management in Theban archaeology. It was not on a limnological subject sensu stricto, but it aroused the interest of all because the lecture addressed the issue of traditional water use in ancient Egypt and the technical theme of the problems caused to the conservation of Egyptians archaeological sites by the modern water use.
The second novelty of Torino SIL 2016 was the plenary lecture given by the winner of SIL Students Competition. SIL successfully introduced this competition to enhance the presence of young researchers in the association. We also had a chance to ask the winner, Jeremy Pigott, to present during the closing ceremony his view on SIL and the Congress.
In spite of the difficult economic situation (only 4% of the total budget were from sponsors), we obtained good support for students and some in‐kind sponsorship very welcomed by participants (for instance free ice cream and beer). It was also possible to offer an Occitan music concert at the Congress Opening Ceremony, which was well met by the participants.
We rented a comfortable conference venue (Lingotto Congress Center) and an effective audiovisual management system. The 10 parallel sessions during the 4 days of the conference have worked well, without loss of time due to technical problems.
The SIL Congress had a significant relevance in the Italian media. The three major national newspapers devoted space to the event and published articles on topics related to ecology of inland waters during the Congress days. Even the radio channels and the national and regional TV channels interviewed the organizers and the participants, and broadcasted services on the Congress.
During the Congress there was a national round table, which involved numerous water managing public bodies (summary at http://www.silitaly.it).
Finally, the 33rd SIL Congress was rewarded with a surprise arriving a few days after the Congress ended. This has bridged a little, at least emotionally, the gap of the absence of public funding. The President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella offered a commemorative plaque in bronze in recognition of the international relevance of the 33rd SIL Congress.
Roberto Bertoni, chair, CNR Institute of Ecosystem Study, Verbania, r.bertoni(et)ise.cnr.it
Luigi Naselli-Flores, co-chair, University of Palermo, luigi.naselli(et)unipa.it
Cristiana Callieri, co-chair, CNR Institute of Ecosystem Study, Verbania, c.callieri(et)ise.cnr.it