Organismi modello

Rearing of research model organisms

The unit takes care of short and long-term maintenance of Mediterranean model species, mainly sampled in the Gulf of Naples and used for the purposes of Scientific Research (various echinoderms, molluscs, tunicates, cnidarians, sponges), under controlled conditions. It also cures the maintenance in closed loop systems of non-autochthonous echinoderm species.


The unit is developing effective systems for the breeding of the two most commonly used model species (Ciona intestinalis and Paracentrotus lividus) and various research projects are conducted aimed at the breeding of various species of Mediterranean invertebrates.

Laboratory services for research

Collection and supply of organs / tissues / gametes and preparation of batch cultures of embryos at different stages of development and larvae. The technicians of the unit actively cooperate with the SZN researchers to meet their experimental needs to their full potential. A mass production service and supply of phytoplankton crops is also available for the purposes of the scientific research.

New model species (“candidate models”)

Identification of new species of model animals (invertebrates and vertebrates) is ongoing.
The aim of these activities is the identification and the creation of a "bank" of phyto- and zoo-planktonic and benthic organisms to be used as models, as food for other organisms, etc.

Mesocosms and Facilities for Research in the Marine Environment

At the Mare Unit, technicians are frequently involved in the development of experimental set-ups specifically constructed according to the needs expressed by various research groups, in response to required formalities. For this purpose, automatic systems have been developed for trophic studies on molluscs and echinoderms, set-up were designed to simulate the effect of turbulence on the stratification of marine sediments, microcosms were realized for the management of echinoderms, molluscs, cephalochordates and sponges under controlled conditions. The set-ups are realized according to own original projects and they remain an intellectual property of the Unit, while the services rendered allow the SZN researchers to count on a continuous and due cooperation in support of their research. These activities will be improved in the next future, with the installation of new facilities that will include, among others, programmable automatic systems for the breeding of model organisms (SZN Patent).

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