91435 - Management of Resources and Ecosystem Services

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Sciences and Management of Nature (cod. 9257)

Learning outcomes

The student will learn what a catchment basin is: both its hydrogeologic and geomorphologic characteristics with a higher emphasis on river ecosystems. Having acquired the knowledge on the dynamics of the physical habitat, he will be able to understand the structure and function of freshwater communities, from micro-organisms to fish fauna and their adaptations to extremely dynamic habitats, typical of resilient ecosystems. Students will learn the concept of Ecosystem Services and its use in resources management. Later, the student will learn the procedures for assessing environmental impact (VIA, VInca, VAS) foreseen by the legislation, thus acquiring both theoretical and practical knowledge of the instruments and indexes used to identify and assess the impacts. Particular attention will be devoted to the subjects more relevant to the future professional activity of the student. The second part of the course will deal with monitoring of resources, with practical activities both in the laboratory and in the field, focused on aquatic ecosystems, in particular the use of river macrobenthos as proxy of environmental quality. The student will be able to recognize the importance of: 1) managing the territory at the scale of catchment basin, 2) conserving and restoring the physical dynamics of the environment to preserve ecosystem diversity, 3) using the concept of Ecosystem Services for an ecological analysis of the "value" of ecosystems. The student will also be aware of the importance of the procedures VIA, VInca and VAS as instruments to foresee significant human impacts on the environment. Finally, the student will be able to know and execute water ecosystem monitoring actions and identify the river macrobenthic community at the taxonomic level foreseen by the legislation.

Course contents

The course is composed by a theoretical part, two field excursions, one laboratory exercise, and four intermediate self-evaluation quizzes.


Program of theoretical lessons

- Ecosystem services: what they are, how to quantify them, how to manage them. Some case studies coming from scientific papers will be analyzed.

- Monitoring of natural resources

- Marine biodiversity monitoring through Citizen Science

- The role of environmental education in managing ecosystem services.

- River ecosystems and their management.

- Macroinvertebrates identification to assess river environmental quality.

- River fish monitoring and the refining of river environmental quality indexes (including a seminar by Giovanni Rossi, ARPAE)

- Valutazione di Impatto Ambientale (VIA), Valutazione Ambientale Strategica (VAS), Valutazione di Incidenza Ambientale (VINCA)


Field trip to the Cinque Terre Marine Protected Area

 The one-day field trip to Monterosso al Mare includes the realization of a marine biodiversity monitoring action, to be performed in snorkeling. The details of the field trip will be defined at the beginning of the course.


Field trip at the Foreste Casentinesi National Park

- The two-day excursion (overnight out) at S. Benedetto in Alpe includes the realization of sampling actions of macroinvertebrates (with specific nets) and fish (using electrofishing) close to an artificial structure (weir). Collected data will be used to elaborate indexes to assess its up- and down-stream environmental quality. Collected macroinvertebrates will be used during the laboratory exercise.


Three laboratory exercises

- The biodiversity data collected during the excursion at the sea will be analyzed to derive an environmental quality index, using Microsoft Excel.

- The macroinvertebrates collected during the excursion at the river will be analyzed at the microscope for the taxonomic determination at the level foreseen by current legislation, using dichotomic tables. An environmental quality index (EBI) will be calculated.

- River fish data will be elaborated during a computer exercise, to calculate an environmental quality index (NISECI)


During the course, students will be provided with three multiple response online tests. These quizzes do not take part in determining the finale exam grade, but they are used as a self-evaluation tool for the student about the knowledge of basic concepts. An informal "competition" with a "prize" (unrelated to the final evaluation grade) will be set up to foster participation, ehich remains on a voluntary basis.


All teaching material will be provided before each lesson on the online didactic platform.


No textbook will have to be purchased.

Teaching methods

The course includes front lessons, laboratory exercises with microscopes and dichotomic keys for macroinvertebrate identification, computer exercises, field excursions in terrestrial, river and coastal marine environments, brainstorming.

Assessment methods

The exam aims to assess that the student has reached the teaching goals.

The exam, only oral, is composed of three parts:

1) determination of a macroinvertebrate at the microscope by using dichotomic keys, down to the level required by current legislation (with Mauro Cesarini)

2) The definition of two terms randomly selected from a list that will be provided by the end of the course

3) One question on a subject related to each one of the terms of part 2. A slide corresponding to each subject will be chosen from the slides used during the lessons and provided as support.

The exam evaluation mode will be explained in detail during the first lesson of the course. Many lessons will contain clear moments of training for the evaluation mode. The final lesson of the course will be entirely dedicated to clarify any residual doubt about the exam mode and evalutation.

Teaching tools

Power Point slides, computer, projector, scientific articles, legislation articles and ministry directives, snorkeling suits, masks, snorkels, fins, marine biodiversity monitoring record quetionnaires, scientific gear for macroinvertebrate and fish sampling in river environments, binocular microscopes, dichotomic keys, wooclap, Excel.

Office hours

See the website of Erik Caroselli


Sustainable cities Oceans Life on land

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.