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Federica Costantini

Professoressa associata

Dipartimento di Scienze Biologiche, Geologiche e Ambientali

Settore scientifico disciplinare: BIO/07 ECOLOGIA


Argomenti di tesi proposti dal docente.

Diversity and spatial distribution of Mediterranean deep coralligenous at Linosa Island


In the Mediterranean Sea coralligenous reefs are biodiversity hot spots and are classified as sensitive habitats deserving conservation. Nevertheless, a comprehensive view of coralligenous habitats in southern Mediterranean deep habitat is still scarce due to the difficulties associated with accessing and obtaining samples.

In August 2016 and September 2017 two oceanographic surveys were carried on board of the N/o ‘‘Minerva Uno by the Istituto per l'Ambiente Marino Costiero del Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (IAMC-CNR) aimed at studying the priority habitats of the island of Linosa. In particular, video surveys have been carried out using a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) at a depth ranging between 15 to 380 meters, showing the occurrence of a very rich ecological assemblage.

The aim of the thesis is to study the diversity and spatial distribution of the coralligenous outcrops offshore Linosa Island, based on the quantitative analysis of video transects recorded by ROV. The identification and ecological characterization of these deep assemblages will extend the current knowledge about Mediterranean coralligenous and will allow improving the management and conservation of deep benthic ecosystems.

The thesis will be done in collaboration with Prof. Claudia Romagnoli (BiGeA, UNIBO), IAMC- CNR Napoli, University of Genova and ICM of Barcelona and the work will be done at the Experimental Ecology Laboratory, in Ravenna.

AVAILABLE: from October 2018

CONCTACT - Federica Costantini presso i Laboratori

mail [] tel. 0544 937401


Molecular approach to investigate interaction between native and non-native species in harbour environments


The increase of human population and their pressures in coastal areas is causing an exponential sprawl of artificial structures, with consequent loss of natural marine habitats. Artificial structures are characterised by low species richness and a prevalence of non-native species compared to natural rocky reefs. Commercial and tourist ports are good examples of coastal artificial habitats. Little is known about the distribution and dynamic of the species inhabiting ports, and the factors leading to a prevalence of non-native species in these habitats are still not fully understood.

The thesis proposal aims to fill the gaps concerning the abundance, distribution and type of species growing in these environments, with particular interest to the interactions between native and non-native species. In particular, the thesis will focus on how the early life history traits of bivalve species are related to their adult distribution. Molecular barcoding and metabarcoding approaches will be applied to discriminate taxonomically similar bivalve species at early stages (where morphological approach struggle to distinguish them).

Samples are already available. The sampling design was carried out at 5 sites in the intertidal zone along the seawalls of Ravenna canal port. From March to July 2017, at each site, 6 plastic scouring pads, as larval collectors, were deployed. All the settlers retrieved on the pads were collected and stored in Ethanol for the molecular analysis.

The work will be divided in several steps:

  1. DNA extraction and amplification of barcoding COI mitochondrial marker.
  2. Real time PCR for metabarcoding analysis.
  3. Bioinformatic analysis to discriminate the species.
  4. Data analysis to identify the species distribution along the harbour.

The thesis will be done in collaboration with the Prof. Laura Airoldi (BiGeA, UNIBO) and Prof. Pallavicini (University of Trieste) and the work will be done at the Experimental Ecology Laboratory, in Ravenna.

AVAILABLE: from October 2018

CONCTACT - Federica Costantini mail []

Dott. Paolo Mancuso mail:


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