Marine ecosystems, their populations and habitats are affected by a wide array of factors, both of natural (environmental changes, seasonality, natural hazards) and anthropogenic (fishing activity, habitat loss, climate change) origin.
The group mission is to provide the scientific basis for the sustainable use and conservation of marine living resources and their habitats. Research focuses on the study of the structure and dynamics of the marine ecosystem components, from species to communities and from littoral to deep waters. It is conducted mainly, but not exclusively, in the Mediterranean Sea. The approach adopted is original, based on field data from multidisciplinary oceanographic cruises, laboratory experiments, empiric analyses and models.
The group assembles wide expertise, from marine faunal taxonomy and population dynamics to community ecology and fisheries. Our investigation encompasses from early life stages to adults, and from pelagic to benthic compartments, considering from organism (morphology, physiology and behaviour) to community level (functional structure, biodiversity, food webs).
It is worth mentioning the active role of the group in the science-policy interface by providing scientific support to fisheries and environmental policies at the national and European levels, including quantitative fisheries models, results in assessment and forecasting.
Specific objectives are focused on:
- Marine biodiversity: species richness, functional and distributional patterns.
- Physical and biological processes driving the dynamics of marine species and the structure of communities at different temporal scales, and their link to climatic change.
- Species interactions in a changing environment: food web structure and invasive species.
- Anthropogenic impact, in particular fishing activities, on exploited and non-exploited organisms and their habitats.
- Bioeconomic modeling of fisheries, taking into account the dynamics of fleets, changing production factors and assessment of fisheries viability under scenarios of global change.
- Science-policy interface: definition and follow-up of fisheries management plans, the role of marine protected areas on species and habitat conservation.