Learning outcomes of the course unit
To provide the basic foundations for analysis of marine populations and communities and to apply ecosystem approaches to the conservation and management of the sea resources.
Essential basic knowledge of botany, zoology and ecology.
Course contents summary
Geological evolution of the Mediterranean basin. – Physical and chemical features of marine waters and sediments: methodological aspects. – Marine biodiversity: definitions and basic concepts; biodiversity levels and space - time patterns. – Plankton, benthos and nekton: biological and ecological characterization; sampling methods. – Coastal marine ecosystems: zonations and successions; structure and dynamics of the communities in relation to physical, chemical and biological distubance factors. – Energy fluxes: primary and secondary production and dynamics of trophic networks; biogeochemical cycles and role of the microbial loop. – Life cycles, larval ecology, dispersal and recruitment and their effects on distribution of populations and communities. – Local, regional and global anthropogenic impacts on marine species, habitats and ecosystems. – Ecosystem approaches to conservation and recovery of the sea resources. – Biology and ecology of transitional environments in the Mediterranean area.
Della Croce N., R. Cattaneo Vietti, R. Danovaro 1997. Ecologia e protezione dell’ambiente marino costiero. UTET Università, 426 pp. – Cattaneo Vietti R., L. Tunesi 2007. Le aree marine protette in Italia. Aracne, 249 pp.
Recent papers drawn from national and international journals or congress proceedings focused on the results of biological and ecological research in marine environments.
Classroom lectures and seminars. Field exercises and experiments: measurement of physical and chemical variables of waters and sediments and sampling of plankton and benthos communities in coastal marine environments (Adriatic Sea or Tyrrhenian Sea) or in coastal lagoons of the Po River Delta. Assessment consists of a joined oral written exam or a PowerPoint presentation.