Scheda insegnamento


L'insegnamento contribuisce al perseguimento degli Obiettivi di Sviluppo Sostenibile dell'Agenda 2030 dell'ONU.

Acqua pulita e igiene Città e comunità sostenibili La vita sott'acqua La vita sulla terra

Anno Accademico 2019/2020

Conoscenze e abilità da conseguire

Students will learn the conceptual foundations to understand the interactions between natural and social systems in globally changing urban landscapes (terrestrial, freshwater and marine), and will gain analytical basic 'urban-ecology tools' to be applied in e.g. urban monitoring, planning and restoration. The students will be introduced to urban areas as 'novel ecosystems', and will learn about the unique ecological conditions and functioning of cities and waterfronts, the environmental challenges and opportunities of a sustainable urban development, and the principles and strategies for biodiversity conservation, restoration and management in a human-modified context. They will be introduced to ecosystem services concepts and how to use them in an interdisciplinary analysis. They will also learn the direct and indirect effects of human impact with a particular attention to freshwater ecosystems as Highly Modified Bodies (WFD 2000/60/CE definition). Students will get the ability to read and understand articles in the field of urban ecology, sustainability and restoration science, to synthesize and communicate interdisciplinary research, and will gain insight about how to identify appropriate solutions to questions relevant to urban planners, policy makers, and managers. Student will also get the opportunity to develop a field-work proposal of restoration project in an highly modified area.


Module Airoldi

Introduction– Principles of urban ecology and the concept of novel urban ecosystems

Unique (man–made) ecological conditions of urban ecosystems– land (and sea) use cover; urban climate and the heat island effect; changes in the physical environment (soil/sediment properties, hydrological processes and (sea)water characteristics); impacts of pollution, noise, artificial light and electromagnetic fields

Patterns of urban biodiversity and controlling factors– impacts of urbanisation on biodiversity and changes in biodiversity along urban-rural gradients; losers and winners in urban habitats, homogenisation and the susceptibility of urban ecosystems to species invasions; effects of altered disturbance regimes; habitat transformation, fragmentation and loss in urban land/sea-scapes, altered connectivity, and dispersal barriers and corridors

Ecosystem functions and services in urban landscapes- urban biodiversity and ecosystem services; valuing the role of natural ecosystems in flood risk reduction and nature-based adaptation; ecosystem management options to enhance resilience of society and the environment to future climate conditions.

Principles of sustainable urban development- urban footprint, sustainability and governance-related challenges in urban environments; natural capital and strategies for biodiversity conservation; indicators of environmental quality in urban environments (e.g. the city biodiversity index, the Ocean health index, etc); management of multiple stressors and stakeholders; bioengineering, multifunctional blue/green infrastructures; conservation and restoration in an urban context

Module Gumiero

Introduction: Ecological concept: from natural to modified freshwater ecosystems structure and functions, impact of human activities.

HMWBs and AWBs (highly modified and artificial water bodies) in the Water Directive WFD (2000/60 EU). Reservoirs and dam: impact and benefit.

Ecosystem services of natural versus modified rivers within sustainable development strategy. The blue imprint of cities and water scarcity

Monitoring of HMWBs and AWBs: Hydromorphology and biomonitoring.

Biodiversity conservation in HMWB and AWBs is possible? Multifunctional natural infrastructures. Common european implementation strategy on HMWBs.

Restoration of HMWBs and AWBs: a stepwise approach for the designation and reference condition of HMWBs and AWBs.

Navile and canals of Bologna: opportunity to develop restoration proposals.


Elmqvist et al (Editors) 2013 - Urbanization, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Challenges and Opportunities. Springer (open access at https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007%2F978-94-007-7088-1#toc )

Niemela, J., Breuste, J. H., Guntenspergen, G., McIntyre, N. E., Elmqvist, T., & James, P. (2011). Urban Ecology: Patterns, Processes, and Applications.

Other papers for discussion groups will be provided during the course

Metodi didattici

Frontal lessons

Discussion groups of hot topic papers

Practical group excercises

One joint field excursion

Modalità di verifica dell'apprendimento

The exam will assess knowledge about the structure and functioning of natural systems (populations, communities, ecosystems). The final evaluation is expressed in 30ies.

There will be 6 exam dates (2 per session). The first exam will be a written test (about 20 -25 open and closed questions), while the remaining 5 dates will be oral exams. The dates of the exams will be posted on the site AlmaEsami. Students can book for the examination exclusively using the procedures provided by the online system Alma Exams (https://almaesami.unibo.it/almaesami/welcome.htm).


The exam grade awarded may be refused up to a maximum of two times

Strumenti a supporto della didattica

Copies of the power points will be provided during the course via UNIBO Intranet.

Papers to touch specific hot topics and for discussion groups will also be provided during the course. These will include the following papers:

•Hobbs, R. J., Higgs, E., & Harris, J. A. (2009). Novelecosystems: implicationsfor conservationand restoration. Trends in Ecology& Evolution, 24(11), 599–605. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2009.05.012

• Murcia, C., Aronson, J., Kattan, G. H., Moreno-Mateos, D., Dixon, K., & Simberloff, D. (2014). A critiqueof the ‘novelecosystem’ concept. Trends in Ecology& Evolution, 29(10), 548–553. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2014.07.006

• Gaston, K. J., Bennie, J., Davies, T. W., & Hopkins, J. (2013). The ecological impacts of nighttime light pollution: a mechanistic appraisal. Biological Reviews, 88(4), 912–927. https://doi.org/10.1111/brv.12036

• Heery, E. C., Bishop, M. J., Critchley, L. P., Bugnot, A. B., Airoldi, L., Mayer-Pinto, M., … Dafforn, K. A. (2017). Identifying the consequences of ocean sprawl for sedimentary habitats. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 492, 31–48. 

• Mckinney, M.L., 2002. Urbanization , Biodiversity , and Conservation 52, 883–890. https://doi.org/10.1641/0006-3568(2002)052

• McKinney, M. L. (2006). Urbanization as a major cause of biotic homogenization. Biological Conservation, 127(3), 247–260

•Dearborn, D.C., Kark, S., 2010. Motivations for Conserving Urban Biodiversity. Conserv. Biol. 24, 432–440. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2009.01328.x

• Bulleri, F., & Chapman, M. G. (2010). The introduction of coastal infrastructure as a driver of change in marine environments. Journal of Applied Ecology, 47(1), 26–35.

• Gómez-Baggethun, E., & Barton, D. N. (2013). Classifying and valuing ecosystem services for urban planning. Ecological Economics, 86, 235–245. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2012.08.019

• Schröter, M., van derZanden, E. H., van Oudenhoven, A. P. E., Remme, R. P., Serna-Chavez, H. M., de Groot, R. S., & Opdam, P. (2014). Ecosystem Services as a Contested Concept: a Synthesis of Critique and Counter-Arguments. Conservation Letters, 7(6), 514–523

•Dafforn, K. A., Glasby, T. M., Airoldi, L., Rivero, N. K., Mayer-Pinto, M., & Johnston, E. L. (2015). Marine urbanization: an ecological framework for designing multifunctional artificial structures. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 13(2), 82–90.

• Borsje, B. W., van Wesenbeeck, B. K., Dekker, F., Paalvast, P., Bouma, T. J., van Katwijk, M. M., & de Vries, M. B. (2011). How ecological engineering can serve in coastal protection. Ecological Engineering, 37(2), 113–122.

•Corlett RT(2016). Restoration, Reintroduction, and Rewilding in a Changing World. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 31:453-462

Orario di ricevimento

Consulta il sito web di Laura Airoldi

Consulta il sito web di Bruna Gumiero