The group conducts research projects related to the factors and mechanisms that determine the resilience of marine benthic ecosystems face to the global change impacts. To this end the group adopted a multidisciplinary ranging from taxonomy and systematics, to species biology, structure and dynamics of populations and communities, both benthic and planktonic, and the relationship of biological processes with environmental factors. The multidisciplinary approach implies that the studies contemplate a wide range of analytical, experimental (in the field and in the laboratory), statistical and modeling techniques. A special effort is also made in the technological development of equipment ensuring the best guarantees of success of the developed projects. The team works mainly in the littoral and platform benthic ecosystems in which it has a long experience (campaigns in oceanographic and coastal areas with SCUBA-diving). Resulting in the acquisition of long-term (> 20 years) time series of population dynamics and biodiversity unique in the Mediterranean. The research activities is complemented by a long experience in educational and scientific outreach activities.
The main objective of the group is to achieve an integrated vision of the factors that determine the resilience of benthic ecosystems, that is, factors that determine the resistance and recovery face of disturbances associated with global change. The team has been especially active in analyzing the central role of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) as tools to counteract the negative effects of human activities. The ultimate final goal in enhancing the effectiveness of marine management and conservation strategies. To this end the group works in close cooperation with the administration, authorities and society in general (educational and outreach projects) as key issue for our research group.
1. Study of the processes related to the capacity of resilience of littoral and platform Mediterranean benthic ecosystems against perturbations associated with global change.
2. Support in the design of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and analysis of their effectiveness in the conservation the preservation of key marine species and habitats.
3. Study of the structure and dynamics of benthic communities and their spatial distribution in relation to temporal, environmental and geomorphological factors. Consolidation of long-term surveys in different areas in the Mediterranean (+20 years).
4. Development and application of new methods and technological applications to improve knowledge of the marine environment and to cope with new challenges in coastal marine exploration.
5. Development of innovative and science education programs in collaboration with teachers in primary and secondary schools from public and private institutions.
6. Development of marine citizen science projects to involve and raise awareness of environmental challenges of the ocean.