Responsible: Maria Cristina Buia


The activities of this laboratory are characterized by the application of various and integrated approaches, classical and innovative, which are conducted in mesocosm/laboratory and in the field, to study the adaptive responses of benthic organisms (invertebrates and macrophytes), and their trophic interactions in relation with environmental factors and gradients, climate change and anthropogenic disturbances. The approaches used include the physiology of individual species, the structure of populations and the dynamics of benthic communities and coastal ecosystems, to identify early-warning signals/descriptors at different level of biological complexity, and finalized to a correct management and conservation of the coastal systems and their biodiversity.

Systems for laboratory experiments

  • System for automatic culturing of model organisms.
  • Thermostatic chambers for rearing and experiments of benthic organisms in axenic conditions.
  • Tanks for maintenance and experimentation of benthic organisms in sea-water open systems.


  • Qualitative and quantitative analyses of benthic samples deriving mainly from hard and soft bottom vegetated habitats, and soft sediments within the continental shelf.
  • Biometric and biomass analyses.
  • Biological assays and test for bioactive substances.
  • Sample preparation for elemental analyses, and for observation at the  scanning and transmission electron microscopy.
  • Measurements of environmental variables (Temp., pH, irradiance, dissolved oxygen).
  • Measurements of photosynthetic efficiency in macrophytes.


  • Stereomicroscopes, optical microscopes, inverted optical microscope.
  • Freezer at -20 °C and refrigerators +4 °C.
  • Laminar flow flume and chemical flume.
  • Thermostatic cells and chambers.
  • Autoclave, ovens, muffle.
  • Filtration system.
  • Spectophotometer.
  • Analytical and technical balance, microbalance.
  • Deionizer.
  • Liofilizer (deep-dryer).
  • Laboratory oxymeter and pH-meter, portable pH-meter.

For scientific underwater use and diving:

  • Cameras and video-cameras with underwater dedicated casts.
  • Diving-PAM, pH-meters, quantameter, multi-parametric probes.
  • Grabs, dredges, corers for sediment and benthos, air-lift sampler, hand-towed net and plankton nets.

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