The purpose of ASLO is to foster a diverse, international scientific community that creates, integrates and communicates knowledge across the full spectrum of aquatic sciences, advances public awareness and education about aquatic resources and research, and promotes scientific stewardship of aquatic resources for the public interest. Its products and activities are directed toward these ends.
For more than 50 years, ASLO has been the leading professional organization for researchers and educators in the field of aquatic science. ASLO traces its roots to the Limnological Society of America (LSA), which was established in 1936 to further interest and research in limnological science. While the LSA had members working in both freshwater and marine systems, the name did not reflect this diversity until 1948 when the Oceanographic Society of the Pacific merged with the LSA to become the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography. ASLO is incorporated as a nonstock (non-profit) corporation in the State of Wisconsin. Membership in the society is presently more than 3,800 members. Members are drawn from 58 countries including the United States, and more than a quarter of the members reside outside the U.S. In 2011, ASLO members voted to change its name to the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, reflecting the increasingly international nature of the society.
ASLO is best known for its journals, its interdisciplinary meetings, and its special symposia. In recent years, the society has developed programs in public education and outreach, and public policy. It has also sponsored programs to encourage student interaction and to increase opportunities for minorities in the aquatic sciences.
ASLO maintains a public policy office in Washington, D.C., and through its membership interacts with policy decisions in other nations when these policy decisions affect either resources available to do aquatic research or stewardship of aquatic resources. Although member efforts in policy are strictly voluntary, they are strongly encouraged and organized through the web and e-mail.
ASLO is committed to providing resources that enable better aquatic sciences teaching from K-gray. Exciting current projects are provision of an image library and a collection of teaching approaches that have been tested by members.
L&O was founded in 1956 and, according to the Science Citation Index, is the most frequently cited journal in both fields. The journal has grown from 316 pages in 1956, to approximately 2000 pages per year in recent years. it publishes original articles about all aspects of limnology and oceanography. The journal's unifying theme is the understanding of aquatic ecosystems.
The ASLO Bulletin was launched in 1992 as an informal means of communication among members, and in 2001 was renamed the Limnology and Oceanography Bulletin as part of a major revision of its purpose and content. It is published four times annually and includes peer-reviewed articles, informational and opinion articles concerning events within and beyond the society, meeting announcements, and advertisements.
L&O:Methods considers manuscripts whose primary focus is methodological, and that deal with problems in the aquatic sciences. In order to provide the most rapid publication consistent with high standards, the journal appears in electronic format only, and the entire submission and review system is online. Articles are posted as soon as they are accepted and formatted for publication.
ASLO holds at least one and usually 2 meetings annually, and in recent years ca. 1,000 registrants have attended each meeting. The number of concurrent sessions is kept as small as possible. Sessions on recent advances and other special topics are included as well as a core sessions representing the breadth of aquatic science. For the past decade, a biannual Aquatic Sciences meeting has generally alternated with a biannual Ocean Sciences meeting. The society maintains a balance between limnology and oceanography in its meetings, and ASLO summer meetings often focus somewhat more on limnology. Meeting co-sponsors have included the American Geophysical Union, the Ecological Society of America, the Oceanography Society, and others.
In 1970, the membership decided to initiate and sponsor symposia dealing with "relevant" or controversial issues in aquatic ecology, to provide an open forum for the exchange of basic information and to foster communication between academe, state, and federal agencies, and industry. The first symposium in the series was held in 1971, and addressed the "limiting nutrient controversy" over whether carbon or phosphate limits algal production. The issue became politically charged when legislation was proposed to remove phosphorus from detergents as a means to control eutrophication. The resulting special issue of Limnology and Oceanography (L&O Special Symposia Vol. I, 1972) provided a scientific foundation for the debate, and is still cited.
A similar symposium was held in 1992 to address whether iron is limiting in the high-nutrient, low-productivity regions of the ocean, and consider whether iron fertilization might reduce carbon dioxide build-up in the atmosphere. In 1994, a symposium was held to consider the impact of a potential doubling of carbon dioxide on a regional basis for the North American Continent. The meeting brought together more than 125 aquatic ecologists, hydrologists, and meteorologists to consider how a doubling in atmospheric carbon dioxide might impact the regions, and make recommendations to scientists and policy makers for future research. Recent special symposia have included the Ocean Fertilization Symposium in 2001. Symposium topics or programs may be submitted to the ASLO Board for consideration.
In 1994, members adopted a code of professional conduct, and a similar policy has been adopted for its journals.
The society receives many email requests from students seeking information about aquatic science careers. The ASLO website offers several documents on careers in the aquatic sciences and in public policy, as well as programs to assist recent PhDs and minorities in the aquatic sciences. In 1994, ASLO founded a program to reduce the historical, institutional and philosophical barriers that limit the exchange of information between limnologists and oceanographers, and to foster inter-disciplinary and inter-institutional research. Through this program, the society is able to publish the submitted Ph.D. dissertation abstracts of recent Ph.D. recipients in biologically oriented aquatic science, sponsor a symposium for recent Ph.D. recipients to facilitate exchange across institutions and disciplines; and establish a centralized data base for applicant characterization and tracking of recent graduates.
Anyone interested in the aquatic sciences is welcome to join the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography. There are several options available for subscribing to the society's journals in print and electronic format. Choose the option that best suits your needs. Refer to the New Member Information Page for more information!