Coastal hydrogeology

Coastal zones are among the most densely populated areas in the world. In this context, human activities often insist on a territory that is vulnerable to land subsidence, sea ingression, soil and water salinization. The coastal zone is the natural boundary between salt and freshwater; this boundary, however, is not static but highly dynamic being controlled by anthropogenic activities and climate.

The research direction on coastal hydrogeology is concerned with the hydrodynamic and the geochemical characterization of groundwater as well as the interactions between surface and groundwater. Current research is focused on the relationships existing among vegetation, land use, groundwater, sea-water, rainfall, irrigation, infiltration, and drainage. One important objective is to provide stakeholders of the coastal zone with tools to help in the management of ground and surface water. To this end, we have developed decision support tools (DST).

Furthermore, thanks to a series of conventions with the City of Ravenna and the Forest Service, it was possible to equip the area between Lido di Dante and Lido di Classe (Pineta Ramazzotti) with piezometers, divers, multi-level samplers and soil moisture probes. This area is particularly suited to study the effects of vegetation on ground water and the complex relationships among plant species diversity, biodiversity, ecosystem evolution, water hydrochemistry, ground water flow, and aquifer salinization. The lab has been setup in a way to be able to monitor continuously water level and hydrochemistry in portion of the coastal pine forest that were affected ,at different levels, by a forest fire in July 2012 and areas that were unaffected by the fire. This is an unique opportunity to study the effects of forest fire on coastal ground water as well as the recovery of the vegetation, aquatic fauna, and ecosystems over time.