University of bologna

Department of Biological, Geological, and Environmental Sciences - BiGeA

UoS of Ravenna

Short description

Web Site:


Telephone: +39 0544 937311

Laboratori di Scienze Ambientali

Via S. Alberto 136

I-48123 Ravenna (Italy)

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The Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences or “BiGeA” was founded in 2012 through the merging of two pre-existing departments within the Science Faculty: the Department of Experimental Evolutionary Biology and the Department of Earth, Geological and Environmental Sciences.
The main mission of the BiGeA is to organize and develop research, education and public engagement in all fields of the planet Earth system, from the litho-hydrosphere to the biosphere, through geological and biological/bioinformatic tools. The parallel mission is the study, forecast and mitigation of environmental effects deriving from man-made activities and global changes.
BiGeA activities are carried out in Bologna, Ravenna and Fano. The headquarter of the BiGeA (Direction and Administrative offices) is in Bologna, Piazza di Porta San Donato 1

Marco Abbiati - University of Bologna

Project coordinator

Marco Abbiati graduated in Biology (cum laude) at the University of Pisa in 1983, and Ph.D. at the University of Genoa, Italy in 1988. In 1988-89 he was Research Fellow at the University of Oslo. From 1990 to 1998 he was research manager at the laboratory of Marine Biology of the University of Pisa. M. Abbiati moved to the University of Bologna – Ravenna Campus in 1998 as Associate Professor, from 2002 he is Professor in Ecology. He is mainly interested in marine ecology: community ecology, population genetics and molecular ecology, conservation of marine biodiversity, Environmental Impact Assessment. In his studies he merged the descriptive and experimental approaches used in community ecology with the use of molecular tools to understand patterns of biodiversity and connectivity in marine populations.

His studies focused on patterns of spatial and temporal variability of sandy and rocky bottom assemblages; on the impact of natural and anthropogenic stressors on species abundance and distribution, and on adaptive strategies of benthic invertebrates. He is author and co-author of more the 100 papers published in international scientific journals. Marco Abbiati has been the principal investigator and coordinator of numerous research projects funded by the European Union, National authorities and private companies.

Recent publications relevanto to Reef ReseArch:

·      Boscari E, Abbiati M, Badalamenti F, Bavestrello G, Benedetti-Cecchi L, Cannas R, Cau A, Cerrano C, Chimienti G, Costantini F, Fraschetti S, Ingrosso G, Marino IAM, Mastrototaro F, Papetti C, Ponti M, Zane L, Congiu L, 2019. A population genomics insight by 2b-RAD reveals populations’ uniqueness along the Italian coastline in Leptopsammia pruvoti (Scleractinia, Dendrophylliidae). Diversity and Distribution, 25:1101-1117

·      Paletta MG, Grinyó J, Gili JM, Díaz D, Muñoz A, Garrabou J, Abbiati M, Ledoux JB, Costantini F, 2019. Exploring the genetic diversity and the population structure of the mesophotic Paramuricea macrospina in the Menorca Channel. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science, 219: 444-452

·      Ingrosso G, Abbiati M, Badalamenti F, Bavestrello G, Belmonte G, Cannas R, Benedetti-Cecchi L, Bertolino M, Bevilacqua S, Bianchi CN, Bo M, Boscari E, Cardone F, Cattaneo-Vietti R, Cau A, Cerrano C, Chemello R, Chimienti G, Congiu L, Corriero G, Costantini F, De Leo F, DonnarummaL, Falace A, Fraschetti S, Giangrande A, Gravina MF, Guarnieri G, Mastrototaro F, Milazzo M, Morri C, Musco L, Pezzolesi L, Piraino S, Prada F, Ponti M, Rindi F, Russo GF, Sandulli R, Villamor A, Zane L, Boero F, 2018. Mediterranean Bioconstructions Along the Italian Coast. Advances in Marine Biology, 79: 61-136

·      Costantini F, Ferrario F, Abbiati M, 2018. Chasing genetic structure in coralligenous reef invertebrates: patterns, criticalities and conservation issues" Scientific Reports, 8: 5844, DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-24247-9

Massimo Ponti - University of Bologna

Massimo Ponti is a benthic ecologist at the Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences and adjunct professor at the Master Degree in Marine Biology. He is graduated in Environmental Science and has a PhD in Ecology. His principal research interests lie in the field of:
•    Ecology of macrobenthic communities on soft and hard bottoms
•    Effects of anthropogenic disturbance on benthic assemblages
•    Benthic biotic indices
•    Geographic information systems applied to coastal ecology

Expert scientific diver, he is also President of the Italian Association of Scientific Divers and Vice-President of the Reef Check Italy no-profit association


Recent publications relevanto to Reef ReseArch:

  • Fava F., Ponti M., Abbiati M. (2016) Role of recruitment processes in structuring coralligenous benthic assemblages in the Northern Adriatic continental shelf. PLoS ONE 11(10): e0163494.
  • Ponti M., Falace A., Rindi F., Fava F., Kaleb S., Abbiati M. (2014) Beta diversity patterns in northern Adriatic coralligenous outcrops. Proceedings of the 2nd Mediterranean symposium on the conservation of the coralligenous and other calcareous bio-concretions. Bouafif C., Langar H., Ouerghi A. Portorož, Slovenia, UNEP/MAP-RAC/SPA: 147-152.
  • Ponti M., Fava F., Abbiati M. (2011) Spatial-temporal variability of epibenthic assemblages on subtidal biogenic reefs in the northern Adriatic Sea. Marine Biology 158(7): 1447-1459.
  • Ponti M., Fava F., Perlini R.A., Giovanardi O., Abbiati M. (2015) Benthic assemblages on artificial reefs in the northwestern Adriatic Sea: does structure type and age matter? Marine Environmental Research 104: 10-19.

Federica Costantini - University of Bologna

Federica Costantini is a Researcher at the Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Science. She has a PhD in Environmental Science. The scientific interest of Federica Costantini is related to population genetics and molecular systematic of coastal marine invertebrates for biodiversity conservation and management purposes.  Specifically she is interested 1) to evaluate how anthropogenic impacts alter the genetic make-up of the populations; 2) to identify common barriers to gene flow for biodiversity conservation and 3) to identify management and conservation units in harvested species. She works in a variety of marine coastal environments, including rocky shores, submarine caves, marine urban habitats, artificial coastal and offshore structures and she uses innovative genetic and genomic tools (e.g. microsatellite loci, mitochondrial DNA sequences and SNP markers obtained using NGS approaches).

Recent publications relevant to Reef ReseArch:

  • Sabri Jaziri, Costantini F, Rugiu L, Abbiati M, Jarboui Othman (2017) Does historical harvesting affects colony size distribution and genetic diversity in Corallium rubrum (Linnaeus, 1758)? Evidences from the Southern Mediterranean commercial banks. Hydrobiologia, 784: 211-224
  • Costantini F, Gori A, Lopez-González P, Bramanti L, Rossi S, Gili JM, Abbiati M (2016) Limited genetic connectivity between gorgonian morphotypes along a depth gradient. PloS one, 11(8), e0160678
  • Costantini F, Abbiati M (2016) Into the depth of population genetics: pattern of structuring in mesophotic red coral populations. Coral Reefs 35: 39-52
  • Villamor A, Costantini F, Abbiati M (2014) Genetic structuring across marine biogeographic boundaries in rocky shore invertebrates. PLoS ONE 9(7):  e101135.

Eva Turicchia - University of Bologna

Eva Turicchia is a PhD student at the Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Science. She has a bachelor degree in Environmental Science and a master degree in Marine Biology, both obtained at the University of Bologna. Her principal research interests lie in the field of:
•    Ecology of macrobenthic communities on hard bottoms, including coral reefs
•    Effects of anthropogenic disturbance on benthic assemblages
•    Benthic biotic indices

•    Geographic information systems applied to coastal ecology

•    Citizen science

•    Image analysis

Expert scientific diver, she is a regional coordinator of the Reef Check Italy no-profit association and member of the Italian Association of Scientific Divers.