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Biodiversity and functioning of marine ecosystems

OGS holds the due competencies for an exhaustive evaluation of ecosystem features and is actively involved in the conjugation of ocean dynamics with the establishment of chemical, physical and biological processes that determine its functioning.  Primary objective is the proper evaluation of the ecological status by applying an ecosystem approach in order to support a functional approach to Integrated Coastal Zones Management (ICZM).

One of the largest challenges for the third millennium humanity taken in by Horizon 2020 is biodiversity preservation. Biological communities are nowadays subjected to pauperisation processes due to human activities and climate change, with effects on local and global scales. Biodiversity loss triggers the deterioration and reduction of ecosystem resistance and resilience, threatening ecological processes.

As far as biology is concerned, OGS is experienced in marine populations, both in qualitative and quantitative terms, from micro- to macroscopic scales, from viruses to fish, with classical taxonomic and forefront molecular tools.

OGS is qualified to quantify services provided by marine areas to the society by the application of techniques aimed at evaluating ecological system quality.

Primary objectives are Coastal zone and Deep sea environment

 

Socio-economic impact

The experience OGS gained in the Marano Lagunare and Grado Polluted Site of National Interest (SIN) allowed supporting the Trieste Port Authority in the request of the Italian Ministry for Environment for reviewing the criteria required by the characterisation plan for the Trieste SIN by utilising the ecosystem approach, rather than the mere chemical contamination evaluation. Such approach implies a strong spending reduction and the prompt restitution of wide marine areas to citizens.

Understanding ecosystem resistance and resilience processes allows to undertake bioremediation actions in highly polluted sited and to plan interventions as dredging, sediment movement, marine infrastructure building, and maritime traffic. The wide taxonomic competency allows depicting intervention protocols for ports, marinas and mooring governance.