72830 - Marine Zoology

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Alessia Cariani

  • Credits 6

  • SSD BIO/05

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme First cycle degree programme (L) in Biological Sciences (cod. 8012)


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


Academic Year 2023/2024

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student will know the different aspects of the life cycle of marine species that constitute 'case studies', particularly with regard to the fisheries resources and the main methods of analysis for taxa representative of the domains marine (plankton, benthos, nekton) in relation the evolutionary and adaptive traits. The student is also able to design a study concerning certain significant phases of the life cycle, such as reproduction, growth, feeding.

Course contents

1) Animal biodiversity in marine domains (benthos, plankton, nekton) in relation to evolutive and adaptive traits and recent climate and global changes.
2) Benthos: animals dwelling the seabed. The vertical distribution and the main communities: the littoral system and the diversification of the superficial surfaces), intertidal, infralittoral, circalittoral of the Mediterranean Sea. Animal adaptations in relation to the substrate, depth, latitude. Representative taxa. Marine bioconstructions: barrier builders.
3) Plankton: Animals floating in the water column. Adaptations: shapes, buoyancy, colors. Classification: dimensional criteria related to their life cycles. Oloplancton: representative taxa. Meroplankton: the larvae. Spatial distribution of zooplankton; Bipolar species. Vertical migrations. The power supply. The role of zooplankton in the cycle of matter. Animals living into the air-water interface.
4) Nekton: animals actively swimming in the water column. Representative taxa. Adaptation to swim and adaptive convergences. Invisible barriers.
5) Sea vertebrates partially linked to emerging lands: adaptations and diversity.
6) Animal life in extreme environments:
the deepest sea: the deep system, and bathyal, abyssal planes. Adaptations, food shortages and reproductive strategies;
Arctic and Antarctic poles: adaptations to cold;
Transition environments: adaptations to the instability of environmental-chemical parameters.


Cognetti Sarà Magazzù "Biologia Marina" Ed. Edagricole-New Business Media 2010

Castro Huber "Biologia Marina" Ed. McGraw-Hill

Danovaro "Biologia marina. Biodiversità e funzionamento degli ecosistemi marini” Ed. UTET

Hickman, Keen, Eisenhour, Larson, Lanson, Arizza, Coppellotti, Guidolin “Zoologia” Ed. Mc Graw Hill

Casiraghi de Eguileor Cerrano Puce “Zoologia” Ed. UTET

Teaching material and scientific papers proposed and provided by the teacher.

Teaching methods

Lectures with PowerPoint projection and scientific videos related to adaptations and life processes of representative fauna of marine domains and extreme environments.

Observation and sorting of macroscopic and microscopic samples of marine taxa representative of the environment and marine animal biodiversity of the water column and the coastal zone of the North Adriatic. Observation of preserved animals.

Possibility of didactic excursion.

Assessment methods

Oral examination

Teaching tools

Slides, scientific publications, online multimedia.

Lab-tutorials and digital handbook for practicals.

Students who need compensatory tools for reasons related to disabilities or specific learning disorders (SLD) can directly contact the Service for Students with Disabilities (disabilita@unibo.it [mailto:disabilita@unibo.it] ) and the Service for Students with learning disabilities (dsa@unibo.it [mailto:dsa@unibo.it] ) to agree on the adoption of the most appropriate measures.

Office hours

See the website of Alessia Cariani