Foto del docente

Stefano Goffredo

Associate Professor

Department of Biological, Geological, and Environmental Sciences

Academic discipline: BIO/07 Ecology

Coordinator of PhD Programme of Innovative Technologies and Sustainable Use of Mediterranean Sea Fishery and Biological Resources (FishMed-PhD)

Curriculum vitae

 

NATIONAL SCIENTIFIC QUALIFICATION

SECTOR: 05/C1-ECOLOGY

LEVEL:  FULL PROFESSOR

VALIDITY: JANUARY 31, 2014 - JANUARY 31, 2023; SEPTEMBER 11, 2019 - SEPTEMBER 11, 2028

 

STEFANO GOFFREDO CV

FUNDING ID

 

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 system.

 

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 interpretations.

 

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 environment.

 

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 pH.

 

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.

 

17 Investigating the demography and reproduction of populations of the solitary, symbiotic, temperate coral Balanophyllia europaea naturally living along a pH gradient at a Mediterranean CO2 vent. Gametogenesis and larval production were unaffected while recruitment efficiency collapsed at low and variable pH, contributing to coral abundance decline and suggesting that life stages between larval release and early polyp growth are hindered by acidification. This study suggested that the exploration these processes is crucial to assess coral fate in the forthcoming acidified oceans, to preserve coral ecosystems and the socioeconomic services they provide.

 

18 Assessing the skeletal δ18O and δ13C values of specimens of Mediterranean zooxanthellate and non-zooxanthellate corals along a latitudinal gradient on the Western Italian coasts. Skeletal δ18O and δ13C of zooxanthellate corals were confined to a narrower range at the most isotopically depleted end compared to non-zooxanthellate corals, suggesting that the photosynthetic activity may restrict corals to a limited range of isotopic composition, away from isotopic equilibrium. This study inferred that precipitation of coral skeletal aragonite occurs under controlling kinetic biological processes, rather than thermodynamic control, by yet unidentified mechanisms, and that these temperate corals cannot be used for thermometry-based seawater reconstruction.

 

19 Estimating the calcifying fluid pH (pHcf) and carbonate chemistry of a Mediterranean coral naturally growing along a pH gradient. The pHcf derived from skeletal boron isotopic composition (δ11B) was above seawater values and homogeneous along the gradient. Also carbonate ion concentration derived from B/Ca was homogeneous regardless of seawater pH. Furthermore, gross calcification rate (GCR), estimated by a “bio-inorganic model” (IpHRAC), was homogeneous with decreasing pH. The pH up-regulation observed in this study could potentially explain a previous hypothesis that less “building blocks” are produced with increasing acidification ultimately leading to increased skeletal porosity and to reduced net calcification rate computed by including the total volume of the pore space. In fact, assuming that the available energy along the pH gradient is the same, this energy at the low pH sites could be partitioned among fewer calicoblastic cells that consume more energy to maintain homeostasis given the larger difference between external and internal pH compared to the control site, leading to the production of less building blocks (i.e., formation of pores inside the skeleton structure, determining increased porosity). This study suggested that the ability of scleractinian corals to maintain elevated pHcf relative to ambient seawater might not always be sufficient to counteract declines in net calcification under OA scenarios.

 

20 Comparing the microbiome of the temperate, shallow water, non-symbiotic solitary coral Astroides calycularis that naturally lives at a volcanic CO2 vent in Ischia Island (Naples, Italy), with that of corals living in non-acidified sites at the same island. Of all the anatomic compartments, the mucus-associated microbiome differed the most between the control and acidified sites. This study suggested a potential increase of microbiome bacteria nitrogen fixation and recycling in A. calycularis colonies living close to the CO2 vent system.

 

21 Quantifying Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in biological compartments of Balanophyllia europaea. A higher concentration of investigated PAHs was observed in the zooxanthellae, followed by the coral tissue, with lowest concentration in the skeleton. This study provided the basis for further assessments of sequestration of PAHs from the marine environment in the whole Mediterranean, given the widespread distribution of the investigated coral species.

 

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 co-supervisor): 106, BSc 53 + MSc 53; 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 80 papers in Impact Factor journals of the subject categories Biochemical Research Methods; Biochemistry & Molecular Biology; Biology; Chemistry, Multidisciplinary; Developmental Biology; Ecology; Environmental Sciences; Marine & Freshwater Biology; Material Science, Biomaterials; Multidisciplinary Sciences; Oceanography; Physiology; Zoology (Total citations: 1,319; h-index: 23; Web of Science data). SG is the recipient of private and public national and international funds.

 

(b) Curriculum Vitae

 

Stefano Goffredo (SG; Bologna, 27 January 1969) received a master's 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 establishing research line on the biomineralization process, crystallography and mineralogy of biominerals in various calcifying organisms. International scolars are visiting SG lab.

 

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's students in Biodiversity and Evolution, and in Science and Managment of Nature-Curriculum Global Change Ecology and Sustainable Development Goals, and "Ecology" to bachelor's students in Biological Sciences.

 

As guest lecturer, in 2008 and in 2009 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, Jordan. In the academic year 2017/2018, he taught "Sustainability: Environment, Energy and Global Challenges" at "Collegio Superiore", the school of Excellence of Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna.

 

SG is a teacher with friendly disposition, attracting scores of bachelor's and master's students to devote their careers to marine science and protection of marine heritage. Overall he supervised 106 thesis, of which 65 as Supervisor (BSc 38 + MSc 27), and 41 as Co-supervisor (BSc 15 + MSc 26). Many of his students have continued in their fields as PhD students and Post Docs. Currently, he is supervising 3 Post Doc, 3 PhD students, 5 MSc student, and 6 BSc students (www.marinesciencegroup.org).

 

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 experiments.

 

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, Computational Science Lab, University of Amsterdam).

 

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.

 

November 2010 - October 2015, Academic Board member of the Ph. D. Program Biodiversity and Evolution, University of Bologna

 

September 2014 - September 2016, Coordinator of the ESA (European Space Agency) Topical Team project "SpaceBioMat: Space Bioreactor for Marine Mineralization Material Research"; conceivers: Zvy Dubinsky, Giuseppe Falini, Jaap Kandoorp, SG.

 

November 2017 - October 2018, Academic Board member of the Ph. D. Program in Earth, Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Bologna.

 

October 2016 - December 2019, Scientific Responsible of the Laboratory of Marine Biology and Fisheries at Fano, Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna, Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences (https://site.unibo.it/laboratorio-biologia-marina-pesca-fano/en).

 

Since January 2017, Coordinator of the citizen science-based project on Mediterranean Sea biodiversity monitoring "Sea Sentinels - Divers United for the Environment" (www.DUEproject.org).

 

Since November 2018, Coordinator of the International PhD program in Innovative Technologies and Sustainable Use of the Mediterranean Sea Fishery and Biological Resources of the University of Bologna, in collaboration with the Italian National Research Council (FishMed-PhD).

 

Since September 2019, Responsible of Erasmus+ exchanges between University of Bologna and Universidad de Jaén, Spain. 

 

Since December 2019, Scientific Coordinator for the University of Bologna of the Fano Marine Center, The Inter-Institute Center for Research on Marine Biodiversity, Resources and Biotechnologies (www.FanoMarineCenter.eu)

 

Scientific Advisory

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, Limnology and Oceanography, Marine and Freshwater Research, Marine Biodiversity, Marine Biology, Marine Biology Research, Marine Chemistry, Marine Ecology Progress Series, Marine Ecology-An Evolutionary Perspective, Molecular Ecology, Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation, PLoS ONE, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Proceedings of the Royal Society B – Biological Sciences, Restoration Ecology, Science Advances, Science China Earth Sciences, Scientific Reports, The Biological Bulletin, Tourism Management, Water, Zoology),
  • and for proposals submitted to the European Science Foundation (ESF, France), German Ministry of Education and Research (Germany), 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 Goffredo 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 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 Schooland the establishment of the scientific diving course for master's students at the University of Bologna, Marine Science Group, which became in 2010 the first AAUS Organizational Member in Italy. SG was appointed as AAUS representative at the Italian Parliament working group for the national legislation on diving activities.

 

Invited guest lecturer to an international school

 

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 co-coordinator; www.coralwarm.eu.

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.