Effects and Mitigation of Multiple local and Global environmental stressors

We aim to produce the scientific knowledge, technology, and public outreach needed to understand the distribution and ecological impacts of multiple anthropogenic stressors in key aquatic ecosystems, and to develop mitigation scenarios and innovative decision support tools. We work in a variety of coastal, marine, brackish and freshwater ecosystems, which are increasingly threatened by widespread deterioration. We integrate laboratory- and field-based experimental and ecotoxicological research to:

  • identify, quantify and map the combined effects of multiple anthropogenic activities, such as urban development, organic and inorganic pollution (including the effects of microplastics), over-exploitation of resources, climate related changes, and invasive species);
  • understand how multiple threats act in concert to drive the progressive degradation, fragmentation and loss of biogenic habitats and associated biodiversity at local, regional and global scales;
  • understand how climate change (increasing flooding, storms, erosion etc.) and human activities act to drive the degradation, fragmentation and loss of sandy beaches ecosystems and associated biodiversity at local and regional scales;
  • identify indicators of healthy status and early signals of stress that can be used as predictive indicators of degradation and loss;
  • develop of innovative methodologies in scientific diving;
  • identify potential ecological mechanisms that can enhance the resilience of natural systems subjected to increasing multiple threats;
  • develop models of sustainability under contemporary and forecast scenarios of environmental and anthropogenic changes and management strategies;
  • assess the ecotoxicological properties of emerging contaminants and innovative materials trough laboratory testing and the application of statistical and modeling techniques;
  • evaluate the interactive toxicity of mixtures of chemicals;
  • develop measures and indices of benthic integrity suitable for long term monitoring programs.


“Direct and indirect ecotoxicological impacts of microplastics on marine organisms” PLASTOX (JPI Oceans)

“Reliable and innovative technology for the realization of a sustainable MARINe And coastal seabedmanagement PLAN” LIFE MARINAPLAN PLUS (Grant Agreement n. LIFE15 ENV/IT/000391)

"Innovative technologies for safer European coasts in a changing climate, THESEUS", FP7- Grant 244104

“Assessment of the effects on Pialassa Baiona of the thermal discharge of the Porto Corsini Power Station” Supported by ENEL

Research Projects of National Interest (PRIN) “Coastal bioconstructions: structures, functions, and management” (Call 2010-2011; Prot. 2010Z8HJ5M; 2013-2015) and “Reef ReseArcH - Resistance and resilience of Adriatic mesophotic biogenic habitats to human and climate change threats” (Call 205; Prot. 2015J922E4; 2017-2020).

“Training Network for Monitoring Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas” (MMMPA), a Marie Curie Initial Training Network (Call FP7-PEOPLE-2011-ITN; Grant Agreement no.: 290056; 2012-2015).

“TETRIS - Observing, modelling and Testing synergies and TRade-offs for the adaptive management of multiple Impacts in coastal Systems” (PRIN 2010-2011 grant 2010PBMAXP_003,

Major International Collaborations

Departamento de Ecología e Hidrología, Universidad de Murcia, Campus de Espinardo, 30100 Murcia, España

ECOMERS laboratory, Université de Nice - Sophia Antipolis, Nice, France

Department of Zoology-Marine Biology, University of Athens, Greece

Institute of Oceanography, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Anavyssos, Greece

Faculty of Fisheries and Marine Sciences of Sam Ratulangi University, Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia

Marine Biology Research Group, Department of Biology, Ghent University, Campus Sterre S8, Krijgslaan 281, B-9000 Gent, Belgium

Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), Department of Estuarine and Delta systems, Korringaweg 7, 4401 NT Yerseke, Netherlands

SINTEF Materials and Chemistry, Environmental Technology Department, Trondheim, Norway

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, Göteborg Sweden

Empa - Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, Dübendorf, Zürich, Switzerland

External collaborators
Dr. Paolo Comandini