You are here: HomeResearchResearch Infrastructure for marine biological resourcesMonitoring and Environmental Data Unit (MEDA)ProjectsCoastal Ecosystem Functioning in a changing Antarctic ocean (CEFA)

Research Area
Coastal Ecology

Principal Investigator
Raffaella Casotti

Project Managers
Maria Saggiomo – Francesca Margiotta

Project Lifetime
2015 – 2017

Funding Institutions
Progetto Nazionale di Ricerca in Antartide (PNRA)

Dedicated website

Information on the trophodynamics of Antarctic coastal ecosystems (in particular the Ross Sea) is scarce, especially during the spanning period from spring to summer, when the peak of primary production occurs in the sea ice and open waters. To fill this knowledge gap, the present project is focused on the trophic dynamics of Terra Nova Bay (TNB), a site model for the study of the Ross Sea coastal ecosystems. The sympagic, pelagic and benthic trophodynamics at TNB will be analyzed in relation to the evolution of sea ice dynamics and the chemical and physical properties of the water masses by means of traditional and innovative (e.g. AUV, underwater acoustics) sampling/measurement techniques. In particular, we will analyze spatial-temporal variations of primary production, biomass and biodiversity of sympagic and pelagic algal communities, bacteria and zooplankton, pelagic-benthic coupling processes, biomass and biodiversity of benthic communities (including bacteria and meiofauna) and the degradation rates of suspended and sedimentary organic matter. The results will conceivably contribute to the knowledge of the current environmental status and the changes taking place in the Antarctic coastal ecosystems in the light of the ongoing climate change and in relation to the ocean-atmosphere exchange of CO2 and consequent ocean acidification.

The tasks of our O.U. provide results of biotic and abiotic analysis in the three different environmental context (sea-ice, sea-water and sediment) at different spatial and temporal scales. We will focus on:
1) specific composition of the microalgal communities with light microscopy, TEM and SEM analysis;
2) floristic analysis of microalgae found in the sediment traps and in faecal pellets of meso-zooplanctonic target organisms;
3) microalgae biodiversity in sea-ice and in the water column through molecular approaches;
4) photosynthetic parameters of pelagic and sympagic microalgae using modulated fluorescence techniques;
5) inorganic (NO3, NO2, NH4, PO4, Si (OH)4) and organic (DON and DOP) nutrients levels in sea-ice and in the water column with colorimetric methods;

Università di Messina
Università Politecnica delle Marche (UNIPM)
Università di Napoli Federico II (UNINA)
Università degli Studi di Genova (UNIGE)
Università degli Studi di Napoli ‘Parthenope’
CNR IAMC - Istituto per l’Ambiente Marino Costiero
Istituto Superiore della Sanità

Rivaro P., Ianni C., Langone L., Ori C., Aulicino G., Cotroneo Y., Saggiomo M., Mangoni O. (accepted). Physical and biological forcing of mesoscale variability in the carbonate system of the Ross Sea (Antarctica) during summer 2014. Journal Marine System.

Rivaro P., Abelmoschi M.L., Grotti M., Ianni C., Magi E., Margiotta F., Massolo S., Saggiomo V. (2012). Combined effects of hydrographic structure and iron and copper availability on the phytoplankton growth in Terra Nova Bay Polynya (Ross Sea, Antarctica). Deep-Sea Research Part I – Oceanographic Research Papers, 6297-110, ISSN: 0967-0637, doi: 10.1016/j.dsr.2011.12.008

Mangoni O., Saggiomo M., Modigh M., Catalano G., Zingone A. and Saggiomo V. (2009). The role of platelet ice microalgae in seeding phytoplankton blooms in Terra Nova Bay (Ross Sea, Antarctica): a mesocosm experiment. Polar Biology, 32 (3): 311-323.

Celussi M., Paoli A., Crevatin E., Bergamasco A., Margiotta F., Saggiomo V., Fonda Umani S., Del Negro P. (2009). Short-term under-ice variability of prokaryotic plankton communities in coastal Antarctic waters (Cape Hallett, Ross Sea). Estuarine and Coastal Shelf Science, vol. 81; p. 491-500, ISSN: 0272-7714, doi: 10.1016/j.ecss.2008.12.014

Saggiomo M., De Stefano M., Mangoni O., Saggiomo V., Sarno D., Zingone A. (2006). Sympagic diatom in the annual pack ice of Terra Nova Bay, Ross Sea, Antarctica. PSA Abstracts Journal of Phycology, 42 (s1): 32

Meet the team
Raffaella Casotti
Maria Saggiomo
Francesca Margiotta
Augusto Passarelli
Fabio Conversano
Violante Stefanino
Gianluca Zazo
Marco Cannavacciuolo

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