NATIONAL SCIENTIFIC QUALIFICATION
LEVEL: FULL PROFESSOR
VALIDITY: JANUARY 31, 2014 - JANUARY 31, 2020
STEFANO GOFFREDO CV
Dr Stefano Goffredo (SG)
(a) Scientific Biography
His scientific initiative
promises to lead marine biology towards integrative
interdisciplinary syntheses. By extensive collaborations with
leaders in different fields, such as physics, chemistry,
computational science, stable isotopes, and photobiology SG developed
multidisciplinary methodologies attacking the questions identified
by his field studies with novel laboratory tools. In his research,
SG has developed original aspects in the interpretation of
growth and population data, population
dynamics, reproductive biology and conservation
monitoring. Over the last ten years, he has expanded his interests to the
biomineralization in relation to
environmental parameters. His major contributions were:
1. Analyzing the reproductive patterns of
sexual reproduction in temperate Mediterranean corals. SG's
pioneering works on reproductive biology of temperate corals are
the first in the Mediterranean since the ancient observations by
Lacaze-Duthiers dating back to 19th century. SG analyses
revealed peculiar reproductive patterns, a contribution for
understanding the evolution of coral sexuality.
2. Modeling for the first time the population
dynamics of solitary corals in the tropical Red Sea and in the
temperate Mediterranean Sea, introducing age-based population
dynamics models in coral biology and ecology, and in the field of
invertebrate zoology. This result led to the understanding
of how age controls the demographic parameters of corals, their
biometry, growth and reproductive activity, and how to develop
management approaches to fisheries.
3. Assessing patterns of genetic
differentiation in Mediterranean corals. These studies
revealed levels of population structure and connectivity in
gonochoric and hermaphroditic brooding corals, and possible
relationships with planula behavior and mating
4. Assessing patterns of microendolithic depth
distribution in open and shaded habitats. This study
demonstrates that differences between habitat light conditions have
to be considered for bathymetric and consequently paleobathymetric
5. Analyzing the relationships between
environmental parameters and demographic traits, and
calcification in temperate Mediterranean corals and other calcifying organisms, which
led to predictions of the effects of global warming on
Mediterranean coral survival.
6. Launching a new attractive application
of Citizen Science to marine biodiversity
monitoring. This has opened new horizons
in the modern field of applied conservation biology by enabling the
collection of huge datasets at little cost for
institutions, increasing environmental education (www.DUEproject.org).
7. Addressing questions on biomineralization
and macromolecular crystallography in corals, contributing to the
understanding of how biologic and environmental factors interact to
regulate biomineralization. SG showed that both soluble and
insoluble components of the intra-skeletal organic matrix (OM)
influence calcium carbonate crystal morphology, aggregation and
polymorphism as a function of their relative composition, and of
the content of magnesium ions in the precipitation media.
This sheds light on the role of the OM, which appears
mediated by the presence of magnesium ions in the crystallization
8. Investigating the mineralogy of modern
Mediterranean corals across their life cycle, its relationships
with species' habitat and ecological strategies, and its
implications for paleoclimatology. SG showed that, in addition to
aragonite, a significant amount of calcite correlated to the age of
the coral. The presence of calcite can greatly affect the
interpretation of paleoecological archives, suggesting the
need for investigations of coral skeletal composition in order to
obtain accurate paleoclimatic reconstructions.
9. Investigating the relationship between biological
control over mineralization and species abundance along a natural
pH gradient. SG showed that as pCO2 increased, the mineralogy of a
scleractinian coral and a mollusc did not change. In contrast,
calcifying algae reduced and changed mineralization with increasing
pCO2, from aragonite to the less soluble calcium sulphates and
whewellite. As pCO2 increased, the coral and mollusc abundance was
severely reduced. Conversely, calcifying algae showed less severe
or no reductions with increasing pCO2. SG suggested that the
mineralization response to decreasing pH is linked with the degree
of control over the biomineralization process by the organism, and
only species with lower control manage to thrive in the lowest
10 Exploring skeletal mechanical properties in temperate corals. SG investigated the variation of skeletal mechanical properties with position along the polyp body axis, age, populations and environmental conditions in zooxanthellate and non-zooxanthellate corals. Mechanical properties were measured by nanoindentation, a technique that SG applied in detail for the first time to scleractinian corals. A reduction of Young’s modulus was observed toward the oral pole, which is the youngest part of the skeleton. Only zooxanthellate species showed reduced Young’s modulus in southern populations, coherently with the observed reduced skeletal bulk density and increased porosity with SST, and with the lack of correlations with SST and latitude for skeletal bulk density and porosity in non-zooxanthellate species. These results may imply consequences related to the envisaged seawater warming for the next decades.
11 Investigating the acclimation potential of stony corals living along a pH gradient caused by a Mediterranean CO2vent that serves as a natural long-term experimental setting. SG showed that in response to reduced skeletal mineralization at lower pH, corals increase their skeletal macroporosity in order to maintain constant linear extension rate, an important criterion for reproductive output. At the nanoscale, the coral skeleton’s structural features were not altered. However, higher skeletal porosity, and reduced bulk density and stiffness may contribute to reduce population density and increase damage susceptibility under low pH conditions. Based on these observations, SG suggested that the almost universally employed measure of coral biomineralization, the rate of linear extension, might not be a reliable metric for assessing coral health and resilience in a warming and acidifying ocean.
12 Analyzing photosynthetic efficiency of corals exposed in aquaria to temperatures expected for 2100 as a consequence of global warming. Corals photosynthesis was progressively depressed with increasing temperatures, supporting previous hypotheses raised by studies on coral growth and demography. This study confirmed the potential threats posed to zooxanthelate corals by the ongoing seawater warming.
13 Surveying abundance and size-frequency of coral populations at mesophotic sites, founding that population structure is depth dependent. The mean surface area of colonies at mesophotic sites was smaller than at shallow sites, suggesting that growth rates and maximum colony surface area are limited on mesophotic reefs. Colony density was significantly higher at mesophotic sites, however, resulting in equal contributions to overall percent cover. This study indicated that the mesophotic reefs support established populations.
14 Predicting how ocean warming and ocean acidification will affect marine organisms. SG investigated, in the field, the combined temperature and acidification effects on mortality and growth of Mediterranean coral species transplanted, in different seasonal periods, along a natural pH gradient generated by a CO2 vent. SG showed a synergistic adverse effect on mortality rates, suggesting that high seawater temperatures may have increased their metabolic rates which, in conjunction with decreasing pH, could have led to rapid deterioration of cellular processes and performance. The net calcification rate of the symbiotic species was not affected by decreasing pH, regardless of temperature, while in the two asymbiotic species it was negatively affected by increasing acidification and temperature. This study suggested that symbiotic corals may be more tolerant to increasing warming and acidifying conditions compared to asymbiotic ones.
15 Assessing the contribution of evolutionary conserved cytoprotective mechanisms to the physiological plasticity of corals from the Mediterranean Sea that possess different growth modes (solitary vs colonial) and trophic strategies (zooxanthellate vs azooxanthellate). Levels of hsp70 and heat stress induction were higher in zooxanthellate than in azooxanthellate species, and different heat stress transcriptional profiles were observed between colonial and solitary zooxanthellate corals. This study suggested a contribution of trophic strategy and morphology in shaping coral resilience to stress.
16 Investigating net calcifcation rates in bivalves in relation to shell sizes and environmental parameters along a latitudinal gradient in the Adriatic Sea. In Chamelea gallina, net calcifcation rates increased with increasing solar radiation, sea surface temperature and salinity and decreasing Chlorophyll concentration in immature and mature shells. In immature shells, which are generally more porous than mature shells, enhanced calcifcation was due to an increase in bulk density, while in mature shells was due to an increase in linear extension rates. This study suggested that the presence of the Po river in the Northern Adriatic Sea was likely the main driver of the fuctuations observed in environmental parameters, especially salinity and Chlorophyll concentration, and seemed to negatively afect the net calcification of C. gallina
Thus, SG has contributed to the opening of new horizons in
invertebrate biology, including reproduction, demographic modeling,
biomineralization, conservation monitoring, skeletal mechanical properties, climate change effects, and physiology, and created a novel
school in Italy: the Marine Science Group,
www.marinesciencegroup.org, at the University of Bologna (UNIBO)
founded by SG in 1998 during his PhD with funds by private
companies. SG team is an active research group
in which the main experimental tools are innovative ideas,
generated from the interaction between SG and his enthusiastic
students [# supervised thesis (as supervisor or assistant
supervisor): 92, BSc 43 + MSc 49; 9, PhD]. With the
support of Zvy Dubinsky (Bar-Ilan University) and Giuseppe Falini
(UNIBO), SG conceived the European Research Council (ERC) funded project
"CoralWarm" (FP7 IDEAS, g.a. n° 249930, www.CoralWarm.eu; total
grant amount: 3,332,032.00
€). SG's work has resulted in the
publication of 72 papers in I. F. journals of the
subject categories Marine & Freshwater Biology; Ecology;
Oceanography; Zoology, Environmental Sciences; Biology;
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology; Chemistry,
Multidisciplinary; Material Science, Biomaterials; Multidisciplinary Sciences; Biochemical Research
Methods; Developmental Biology, Physiology (Total citations: 1,100; SG h-index: 21; Web of
Science data). SG is the recipient of private and
public international and national grants.
(b) Curriculum Vitae
Stefano Goffredo (SG; Bologna, 27 January 1969) received a
master degree in Biological Sciences cum laude from the
University of Bologna (UNIBO), in 1995, with the thesis "Growth of Ctenactis echinata (Pallas, 1766)
and Fungia fungites (Linnaeus, 1758) (Scleractinia,
Fungiidae) on a coral reef at Sharm el Sheikh, Red Sea, South
Sinai, Egypt" (supervisor Prof. Francesco Zaccanti). In
1996-1997 served in the civil service. In 2000 he completed a PhD
in Animal Biology from UNIBO with the thesis "Population
dynamics and reproductive biology of the solitary coral
Balanophyllia europaea (Anthozoa, Scleractinia) in the Northern
Tyrrhenian Sea" (supervisor Prof. Francesco Zaccanti). Since
2000 he has been a Post-Doctoral fellow and contract researcher at
the Department of Evolutionary and Experimental Biology (UNIBO),
where he has worked on population dynamics and reproductive biology
of temperate and tropical corals, and their relationships with
environmental parameters, and on new perspectives and trends in the
field of biodiversity monitoring, with the development of several
novel Citizen Science based programs. In UNIBO, on June
28th 2010, he progressed to the position of research
fellow, and on June 28th 2013 to the position of
assistant professor. On 28th June 2016 he progressed to the position of associate professor. He is now consolidating
his program on biology and autoecology of marine invertebrates,
biometry, population dynamics modeling, and marine biodiversity
monitoring, and opening a new research line on the
biomineralization process, crystallography and mineralogy of
biominerals in various calcifying organisms. At the University of
Bologna SG teaches demographic modeling to PhD students in "Innovative Technologies and Sustainable Use of Mediterranean Sea Fishery and Biological Resources (FishMed-PhD)", scientific diving, relationships between biodiversity and the environment, and climate change impacts on coastal society and marine ecosystems to
master students in Biodiversity and Evolution, and in Science and Managment of Nature-Curriculum Global Change Ecology and Sustainable Development Goals, and ecology to bachelor students in Biological Sciences. Since 2017, SG is member of "Collegio Superiore", the school of Excellence of Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna (teaching activity Sustainability: Environment, Energy and Global Challenges). As guest
lecturer, he taught population dynamics modeling at the US National
Science Foundation International Programs International
Research Experiences for Students through Auburn
University that took place at the Marine Science Station in Aqaba,
supervised 92 thesis (BSc 43 + MSc 49), as supervisor (54) or
assistant supervisor (38). Many of his students have
continued in their fields as PhD students and Post Docs. Currently,
he is supervising 3 Post Doc, 2 PhD students, 4 MSc student, and 9 BSc students (www.marinesciencegroup.org). SG is
a teacher with friendly disposition, attracting scores of students
to devote their careers to marine science and protection of marine
heritage. International scolars are visiting SG lab,
carrying out research in reproductive biology, population dynamics
Since October 2016, SG is the Head of the Laboratory of Marine Biology and Fisheries at Fano, Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna, Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences.
Since November 2018, SG is the Coordinator of the International PhD program in Innovative Technologies and Sustainable Use of the Mediterranean Sea Fishery and Biological Resources (FishMed-PhD), Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna, Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, Laboratory of Marine Biology and Fisheries at Fano.
SG spent several periods of study and research abroad: (i) in
1996, at the Interuniversity Institute of Marine Science in
Eilat (Israel) guest of Prof. Nanette Elisabeth
Chadwick-Furman to study the abundance, distribution and population
dynamics of corals in the Northern Red Sea; (ii) in January 2005,
he was chief researcher of the Tsunami Interministerial Task Force
of the Government of the Republic of the Maldives,
who organized the first expedition on Maldivian coral reefs after
the 2004 Tsunami; (iii) in 2005, at the State University of
New York at Buffalo (USA) guest of Prof. Howard R. Lasker to develop models of Caribbean corals biometry and growth, and, in
collaboration with Prof. Mary Alice Coffroth to analyse population
genetic structure and biogeography of both zooxanthellae algae and
coral host in symbiotic corals; (iv) invited by Prof. Lasker at the
Miami University to join several research cruises
on board of the R/V F. G. Walton Smith (2005-2007), where he
conducted extensive diving fieldwork for data collection on growth,
demography and reproductive activity of Caribbean corals, and
elaboration of a sustainable management model for coral fisheries
in the Bahamas.
SG has an important and tight collaboration with Prof.
Giuseppe Falini of the Department of Chemistry (UNIBO) for
biomineralization studies, and with Prof.
Zvy Dubinsky of the Faculty of Life Sciences at the
Bar-Ilan University (Israel) to study the ecophysiology of
corals. These collaborations have led to the
FP7-IDEAS-ERC Grant "CoralWarm" for a project
on Corals and Global Warming (www.coralwarm.eu),
in which Zvy Dubinsky, Giuseppe Falini, and
Stefano Goffredo were scientific coordinators.
SG conducted all of CoralWarm's tasks in Italian waters
including complex and challenging underwater surveys and long-term
Since 2014, SG is the coordinator of the
Space Agency) Topical Team project "SpaceBioMat:
Space Bioreactor for Marine Mineralization Material Research",
in which Zvy Dubinsky, Giuseppe
Falini, Jaap Kandoorp (Computational Science
Section, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands) and SG
Since 2017, SG is coordinator of the international citizen science-based project on Mediterranean Sea biodiversity monitoring
"Sea Sentinels - Divers United for the Environment" ( www.DUEproject.org).
Currently, SG research activities mainly address the influence
of environmental parameters (irradiance, water temperature, pH) on
coral reproductive biology and demography (population density,
growth, longevity); marine biodiversity monitoring (Citizen Science);
biomineralization and crystallography in corals and other
calcifying organism (in collaboration with Prof. Giuseppe Falini);
coral ecophysiology (in collaboration with Prof. Zvy Dubinsky);
mechanical properties and porosity of coral skeletons (in
collaboration with Dr Luca Pasquini and Prof. Paola Fantazzini of
the Department of Physics and Astronomy of UNIBO); gene
expression profiles of heat stress (in collaboration with Dr Silvia Franzellitti of the Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences at UNIBO); isotopic composition of corals and waters along
the Italian coast (in collaboration with Prof. Aldo
Shemesh, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel); microgravity
effects on marine mineralization (in collaboration with Prof.
Giuseppe Falini, Prof Zvy Dubinsky and Prof. Jaap Kaandorp).
The research activities of SG are carried out through the use of
several experimental techniques. He uses fully equipped
laboratories of histology, molecular biology and electronic
microscopy (SEM, TEM). He is responsible for a new advanced unit of
image analysis and cytometry. Two latest generation underwater
multiparametric sensors belong to his labs, for field measurements
of pH, PAR, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, salinity, and
temperature. He has organized a fully equipped center for
scientific diving, with the newest apparatuses, a refilling unit, and a 6 m deep swimming pool
for divers training (www.SDSeducational.org).
Through the collaboration with Giuseppe Falini, SG's team has access to last
generation diffractometers (powder and single crystal), scanning
electron, probe and spectroscopic (FTIR and Raman) microscopes, and
an inorganic laboratory to carry out crystallization experiments in
vitro; through Luca Pasquini, SG team has nanoindentation
facilities; through Paola Fantazzini SG team has nuclear magnetic
resonance and porous media lab; through Zvy Dubinsky,
novel and unique, high-tech, computerized metabolic chambers,
respirometers, photoacoustics facilities, an high-tech aquarium
system, and last generation facilities for molecular marine
ecology, and through Aldo Shemesh, last generation equipment
for oxygen and carbon isotopes measurements.
SG acts as reviewer for:
- several journals (AMBIO, American Naturalist, Biodiversity and Conservation, Biogeosciences, Biological Invasions, Biology Letters, BMC Evolutionary Biology, Bulletin of Marine Science, Cell & Tissue Research, Chinese Journal of Oceanology and Limnology, Conservation Biology, Coral Reefs, Estuaries and Coasts, Fisheries Research, Functional Ecology, Global and Planetary Change, Global Change Biology, Hydrobiologia, Journal of Natural History, Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, Journal of the Royal Society Interface, Journal of Theoretical Biology, Marine and Freshwater Research, Marine Biodiversity, Marine Biology, Marine Biology Research, Marine Chemistry, Marine Ecology Progress Series, Marine Ecology-An Evolutionary Perspective, Molecular Ecology, PLoS ONE, Proceedings of the Royal Society B – Biological Sciences, Restoration Ecology, Science Advances, The Biological Bulletin, Tourism Management, Water, Zoology),
- and for proposals submitted to the European Science Foundation (ESF), German Ministry of Education and Research, National Geographic Society (USA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA; USA), National Science Foundation (NSF; USA), Zoological Society of London (ZSL; UK).
Currently he is Associate Editor of "Frontiers in Physiology, Speciality Section Invertebrate Physiology", "Frontiers in Marine Science, Speciality Section Coral Reef Research", and Academic Editor of PLoS ONE.
He is Co-editor of two books by Springer: 2014, "The Mediterranean Sea. Its History and Present Challenges" (Editors: Stefano Goffredon and Zvy Dubinsky). The book focuses on the effects of climate change in the Mediterranean and its shores from its birth, through its present state, to the predicted uncertain future; 2016, "The Cnidaria, Past, Present and Future. The world of Medusa and her sisters" (Editors: Stefano Goffredo and Zvy Dubinsky). This volume presents a broad panorama of the current status of research of invertebrate animals considered belonging to the phylum Cnidaria, such as hydra, jellyfish, sea anemone, and coral.
In 2014, SG has been Assessor for
the IUCN, International Union for Conservation of
Nature (Center for Mediterranean Cooperation;
http://www.iucn.org/; www.iucn.org/mediterranean; Red List
assessment of Mediterranean Anthozoans).
PhD Examination Committee Membership: 2012, Doctorate Course in
Life Science, Tel Aviv University, Israel; 2014, Doctorate
Course in Marine Biology, University of Reunion Island, France.
Scientific Diving: SG has been a diving instructor since 1991.
In 2006, he introduced in Italy the standards for
scientific diving of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences with the creation of the Scientific Diving School, the first AAUS Organizational Member in
Italy. SG developed a scientific diving curriculum for MSc students at UNIBO, and was appointed as AAUS representative at the Italian Parliament
working group for the national legislation on diving activities.
Invited guest lecturer to an international
2008 and 2009, Marine Science Station at Aqaba (Jordan)
"Population dynamics of Red and Mediterranean Sea cnidarians.
Computer modeling of age-based population dynamics". National
Science Foundation International Programs (International
Research Experiences for Students, IRES). US-Jordan Project: NSF
program leader and organizer: Nanette Elizabeth Chadwick-Furman,
Auburn University, Alabama (USA).
Awards and patronages
1999, Patronage of the Italian Ministry of the Environment to
the research project "Mediterranean Hippocampus Mission: a
study on the geographical and ecological distribution of
seahorses"; role in the project: conceiver and co-coordinator.
2002, Patronage of the Italian Ministry for Environment and Land Protection to the research project "Divers for
the Environment: Mediterranean Underwater Biodiversity Project";
role in the project: conceiver and co-coordinator.
2006, Patronage of the Ministry of Tourism of the Arab Republic
of Egypt and of the Italian Ministry for Environment, Land
and Sea Protection to the project "STE: Scuba Tourism for the
Environment. Red Sea Biodiversity Monitoring Program"; role in the
project: conceiver and co-coordinator.
2009, Grant of the European Research Council to the
project "CoralWarm. Corals and Global Warming: The Mediterranean
versus the Red Sea"; role in the project: conceiver and
2014, Grant of the European Space Agency to
the Topical Team project "SpaceBioMat. Space bioreactor
for marine mineralization material research"; role in the project
co-conceiver and coordinator.
2018, Patronage of the Municipality of Palermo, Italy to the project "Sea Sentinels – Divers United for the Environment"; role in the project: conceiver and coordinator.
2018, 2019 Patronage of the Liguria Region, Italy to the project "Sea Sentinels – Divers United for the Environment"; role in the project: conceiver and coordinator.
2019, Patronage of the Italian Ministry for Environment, Land and Sea Protection to the project "Sea Sentinels – Divers United for the Environment"; role in the project: conceiver and coordinator.