Academic year
2023/2024 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
CM0436 (AF:451525 AR:245260)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
1st Semester
Course year
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The course "Ecology of coastal environments" intends to provide students with practical knowledge of applied ecology on ecological systems on a multidisciplinary scale, integrating biological, chemical, physical and sedimentological knowledge with applications and statistical elaborations. The topics covered are therefore transversal to various disciplines but concern all the marine-coastal areas and in particular the Transitional Water Systems (lagoons, coastal lakes, deltas) that have characteristics that are quite peculiar and intermediate between those of purely marine waters and environments of fresh water. In particular, the trophic status and primary producers (aquatic phanerogams, macroalgae, phytoplankton, cyanobacteria) of these systems will be analyzed, examining the most important natural and anthropogenic factors that regulate their presence, biomass and productivity. Therefore, the various impact factors will be analyzed (nutrients, pollutants, clams fishing and other factors that increase sediment resuspension, etc.) and their effects on the environment and ecological status.
The course includes 30 hours of lessons on these topics and 30 hours of laboratory divided into experimental tests of 5 hours each. The laboratory tests are intended to make known the various types of primary producers of coastal environments with ecological and systematic concepts. Furthermore, it intends to make known the most common practices of sampling of physico-chemical parameters and biological variables and to carry out some primary production measures, bacteriological determinations (colibacteria) and extraction of compounds by macrophytes useful for economic purposes (Agar, lipids, etc .).
1. Knowledge and understanding.
1.1. Knowledge of this environmental typology;
1.2 Knowledge of the different primary producers with particular reference to phytoplankton and macroalgae that are not treated in any other course;
1.3. Knowledge of the differnt types of impact.

2. Ability to apply knowledge and understanding.
2.1. Know how to apply the most appropriate procedures to analyze every single problem.

3. Ability to judge
3.1. Know how to interpret the various parameters and environmental variables;
3.2. Know how to identify the various environmental and sustainability indicators;
3.3. Know how to give solutions to specific environmental problems.
Being a transversal course in different disciplines it is important for the students to have already done the basic courses of the various disciplines (Chemistry, Biology, Ecology, Sedimentology, Statistics, etc,).
Coastal and transitional environments;
Ecological characterization of the main Italian transitional environments;
Eutrophication and the role of the main nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen) in the various environmental matrices;
Primary producers and primary production;
Causes / factors of increase and / or decline of macrophytes;
Sedimentation rates and impact on primary producers;
Main Inorganic and organic pollutants and their environmental impact;
Non indigenous species (NIS) and ecological impacts;
Bionomic planes, factors that determine their width and dominant species;
Marine phanerogams and their environmental role;
Macroalgae: Chlorophyta, Ochrophyta, Rhodophyta;
Phytoplankton, Diatoms, Dinoflagellates, Cyanobacteria;
Net and gross primary production;
Primary production and environmental impact of Ulva, Gracilaria, Sargassum, Undaria, Cymodocea and Zostera;
Introduction to environmental quality;
Environmental re-naturalization with seagrass transplantations.

Laboratory tests
Primary production of some macrophytes with the dissolved oxygen method
Analysis and meaning of the determination of colibacteria in marine-coastal waters
Extraction of sulfated polysaccharides from some macrophytes
Sampling techniques of environmental parameters and biological variables
Use of taxonomic keys and visualization and determination of green algae
Use of taxonomic keys and visualization and determination of red algae and brown algae
Specific texts are not necessary because the topics covered are transversal to many disciplines and present procedures and data obtained from the various research activities. Specific texts in word and Power Point will be provided to the students
Learning will be verified through a written test consisting of 3 open questions with the aim of ascertaining the skills acquired during the lessons and laboratory experiences.
The test consists of 3 open questions with the aim of ascertaining the skills acquired during the lessons and laboratory experiences.
The lessons are held in Word or Power Point files which will be uploaded to moodle and sent to students by e-mail. In addition, files of scientific articles on the main topics covered are provided.

This subject deals with topics related to the macro-area "Natural capital and environmental quality" and contributes to the achievement of one or more goals of U. N. Agenda for Sustainable Development

Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 09/03/2023