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Motta GregorioPh. D. Student
Dipartimento di Ecologia Marina Integrata

Tel.: +39 349 9430260
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Skype: gregmotta14

Curriculum Vitae

Director of Studies: Massimiliano Bottaro
Internal Supervisor(s): Massimiliano Bottaro
External Supervisor: Antonio Terlizzi
Program: XXXIV cycle

Research Interests

Overlapping between jellyfish blooms and ichthyoplankton in the central Mediterranean sea: biological interactions and ecological consequences.

Jellyfish blooms are stochastic events that have been always occurring through history. Nowadays, jellyfish blooms are increasing in number, frequency and magnitude, and they can assume a dominant role in structuring planktonic communities through cascade effects. Moreover, these aggregations may directly and indirectly interact and interfere with human economic and recreational activities, ecosystem services, public health and local wildlife.

In the Mediterranean Sea, recent studies have begun to highlight the negative impact of jellyfish blooms (JBs) fisheries and aquaculture. However, the real impact of JBs on fish populations is still poorly understood. In this framework, institutional organizations like the EU-DG Mare and the GFCM of the FAO are now recommending to collect scientific information on the biological and ecological relationships and the possible impact of JBs on fish stocks. This data could give additional tools to understand the phenomenon and predict potential changes to local marine environments and, where possible, administer preventative management through better informed policy and governance to at least minimize the impacts caused by JBs.

This PhD project aims to investigate the potential biological and ecological links between JBs and the fish population in two different areas of the Mediterranean Sea, both characterized by high marine biodiversity, namely the Gulf of Naples and the Gulf of Trieste. In particular, the specific goals of the project are: 1) assessing the seasonal occurrence of jellyfish and ichthyoplankton in the two sites, in relation to oceanographic parameters; 2) studying prey composition and digestion time of the most common jellyfish species collected during the surveys; 3) assessing the perception of fishermen on JBs and their potential impact on fisheries resources.

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