Thursday, April 14, 2016

Monitoring ascidians in the Venetian Lagoon

by Maria Casso

A wood pile dolphin, full of benthic organisms, and half eaten by wood-boring species.
Marco and the fog during the sampling.
The Benthic Ecology research group from the Istituto di Scienze Marina, ISMAR (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, CNR), placed in the Venetian Lagoon, is hosting me for a 3 months research stay. They focuses on ecology of coastal transitional ecosystems, specially benthic communities. More recently, they are interested on wood-boring marine organisms (shipworms and gribbles). This is very important in a place like the Venetian Lagoon as it has a large wooden maritime cultural heritage.

The aim of my stay in Venice is to study the invasive ascidians, which grow on top of those wooden marine structures. To do this, yesterday we went to a field trip around the Venetian Lagoon with Davide Tagliapietra, Marco Sigovini and Irene Guarneri. It was foggy in the beginning but more sunny at the end of the sampling. The objective of the field trip was to determine the distribution of some invasive ascidians and to collect samples for aquaria experiments.