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First Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)
[60/70]  MARINE BIO-ECOLOGY [60/70-00 - Ord. 2015]  PERCORSO COMUNE 6 56


The course aims to provide the students with advanced knowledge on ecological processes in the marine environment and on the scientific principles of marine ecosystems monitoring also for applicative purposes. More specifically, the course aims to provide the student with advanced knowledge about: i) the operational perception of the differences between objectives and methods of scientific research and monitoring in the field of marine ecology; ii) the multifactorial nature of structure and functioning of marine ecosystems; iii) the role of natural and anthropogenic disturbance on biodiversity, structure and functioning of marine ecosystems; iv) the relationships between biodiversity and functioning in marine ecosystems; v) national and European marine monitoring practices to achieve good environmental status; vi) monitoring practices in marine protected areas; vii) ecological monitoring practices for the purposes of specific authorization or evaluation procedures of anthropic activities at sea.
With reference to the Dublin Descriptors, the course aims to provide the student with:
1) Knowledge of the functioning mechanisms of marine ecosystems;
2) Methodological skills for: i) the definition and use of biological and ecological descriptors of marine ecosystems health; ii) the assessment of marine monitoring plans;
3) Skills for the evaluation, elaboration and critical interpretation of studies and technical reports concerning the evaluation of marine ecosystems ecological status;
4) Ability to use the basic tools for presenting the results of marine environments monitoring plans.


The students should have good foundations of general ecology, marine biology and marine zoology.


- Basic marine ecology topics: structure and functions of marine ecosystems (4 h);
- Applicative differences between scientific research and monitoring procedures in the marine environment and diagnostic power of monitoring practices in the marine environment (4 h);
- Ecological indicators in the marine environment. Ecological role of natural disturbance in marine ecosystems (8 h).
- Assessment of the impacts of anthropic disturbance in the marine environment. Theoretical and practical relationships between marine biodiversity and ecosystem functioning and their significance in assessing ecosystem status (8 h)
- National practices in marine monitoring for conservation (e.g. in marine protected areas) and impact assessment purposes. European directives on marine monitoring practices to assess and achieve the good environmental status (8 h).
- Class and Field work on sampling strategies and methods used in marine monitoring plans (12 h)
- Class and mesocosm work on the validation of marine monitoring plans results (12 h)

Teaching Methods

The course is delivered in two parts, the first of which dedicated to the frontal learning of principles and definitions (4 credits: 32 hours) and the second one (2 credits: 24 hours) dedicated to technical seminars, practical laboratory, mesocosm and field experiences. Lectures in the classroom are based on the explanation of schemes, images and videos. Practical experiences include seminar and laboratory activities.
To meet the specific educational needs related to the current epidemiological situation, the frontal lessons would be also given: i) in live streaming or through their recordings available online, or ii) either in presence or online, with the possibility for each student of choice (binding to beginning of the semester) for the attendance or remote mode. Depending on the availability of the classrooms and the number of students who will opt for the attendance mode, access shifts might be needed. As regards the laboratory activities, for the same needs connected to the current epidemiological situation, shifts and / or online replacement activities may be envisaged.

Verification of learning

Students will be evaluated through oral exams. The final score takes into account an array of several factors including:
I) Level and quality of preparation in terms of appropriateness, accuracy and consistency of the knowledge acquired, ability of application of the acquired knowledge, ability to implement the acquired skills in the broader cultural contexts; quality and effectiveness of the exhibition mode; appropriate use of the specific language of the discipline; capacity of interaction with the teacher during the interview.
II) Level of knowledge and awareness in terms of critical thinking and self-evaluation skills;

The final score is given in thirties. Credits are acquired by the student who scores a minimum of 18/30 according to the following levels.
a) Sufficient (from 18 to 20/30): poor acquisition of theoretical knowledge, superficial level, many gaps. Modest communicative abilities, logical capacity and consequentiality at an elementary level; poor capacity of synthesis and rather stunted ability of interaction with the teacher during the interview; weak critical thinking.
b) Moderate (21 to 23): a moderate acquisition of knowledge but lack of deepening, a few gaps; communicative abilities more than sufficient; acceptable level of technical language skills, moderate logical capacity and consequentiality, sufficient capacity of synthesis and acceptable ability of interaction with the teacher; moderate critical thinking.
c) Good (24 to 26): rather large wealth of knowledge, moderate deepening, with small gaps; satisfactory technical language skills; good dialogical ability with the teacher and critical thinking well detectable, good capacity of synthesis.
d) Outstanding (27 to 29): very extensive wealth of notions, high deepening, with marginal gaps; remarkable ability in communicating with an appropriate scientific language; remarkable dialogical capacity with the teacher, good competence and relevant aptitude for logical and efficient synthesis, very good critical thinking.
e) Excellent (30): wealth of very extensive and in-depth knowledge, irrelevant gaps, high capacity in communicating using a competent technical language; excellent dialogical ability with the teacher and marked aptitude to make connections among different subjects, excellent ability to synthesize, very well developed critical thinking.
The praise is attributed to the candidates clearly above the average, and whose notional, expressive, conceptual, logical gaps, if any, are, as a whole, completely irrelevant.


•Danovaro R. Biologia Marina. Biodiversità e Funzionamento degli Ecosistemi Marini. UTET Università, Versione 2 (Riferimento)
•Levinton JS. Marine Biology Function, Biodiversity, Ecology. Oxford University Press (Lettura consigliata)
•Valiela O. Marine Ecological Processes. Springer Verlag (Lettura consigliata)

More Information

The teaching material used in the classroom will be made available to the students during lectures.

Questionnaire and social

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