Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e dell'Ambiente - Guida degli insegnamenti (Syllabus)
Knowledge of the main marine, zoological groups.
Lectures (5 credits, 40 hours approximately) and practical training in small groups (two or three students per group) (2 credits, 16 hours, approximately). The practical training involves the use of preserved zoological material in order to determine the zoological groups at species, genus, family or order level. Students have access to optical microscopes and stereo-microscopes and teaching material (keys, manuals etc.) to perform the exercises.
The course enables students to acquire general knowledge on different aspects of marine biodiversity, mainly of the Mediterranean Sea. Aspects related to the change of marine biodiversity will be addressed on the basis of the main biogeographical subdivisions of the marine environment. The course also provides the technical basis for the identification of some, main groups of marine animals.
Ability to apply the knowledge:
The student will be able to use the knowledge acquired during the course to recognize, promote and manage the biodiversity of marine organisms.
Laboratory activities carried out in small groups, stimulate the judgment capacity and the communication skill; the knowledge acquired during the course will be used by the students during the labs by testing their ability to learn and draw conclusions.
Content of the lectures (5 credits, 40 hours, approximately):
Biodiversity: importance and definitions of biodiversity; comparison between marine and terrestrial biodiversity; the characteristics of the biodiversity; basics of cladistic analysis; types of extinctions; turnover of a species; speciation in the marine environment: overview; historical and geological events and biodiversity; the biodiversity of the Mediterranean: historical-geological and recent causes; Messinian crisis and Biodiversity of the Mediterranean Sea; theory of current inversion and biodiversity; factors that regulate lessepsian migration and anti-lessepsian migration; examples of Lessepsian fauna; spatial gradients of biodiversity; theory of insularity; dispersion and diffusion; concept of barriers to the dispersion and dispersion mechanisms; major biogeographical subdivisions of the marine environment; inter-tropical area, northern and southern temperate area, the western Indo-Pacific region, Atlanto-Mediterranean region, the Antarctic area, indo-polinesian province, Mediterranean-Atlantic province, Sarmatic province; MEOW biogeographic subdivisions; highly biodiverse environments, Mediterranean bioconstructions: Lithophyllum byssoides; vermetids and coralline algae, Cladocora caespitosa, Sabellaria; other examples of bioconstructions (Ficopomatus enigmaticus, Porifera etc.); biodiversity of the caves; factors affecting biodiversity with special reference to the invasions of alien species; examples of non-native species, consequences and mechanisms of introduction, with particular reference to the Mediterranean Sea. The Mediterranean Protected Fauna (marine invertebrates: porifera, cnidarians, molluscs, crustaceans, echinoderms): protected species.
Laboratory practicals (2 credits, 16 hours, approximately):
During the course some zoological groups such as Porifera, some groups of cnidarians, bivalves, crustaceans, will be investigated during labs activity. Dissections for the study of anatomical aspects of some zoological groups will be organized.
Methods for assessing learning outcomes:
The degree of the preparation of the students will be evaluated through an oral exam. During the exam, students must demonstrate that they have acquired the knowledge presented during the course. The student must be able to expose the procedures and methods used during the laboratory training for identifying the zoological groups. The student will also be able to present the main systematic characters of the considered groups.
Criteria for assessing learning outcomes:
The level of knowledge acquired, exposed during the oral test, referring to lectures and to the practical training, will be evaluated to assess the students’ preparation.
Criteria for measuring learning outcomes:
The final mark is assigned as a fraction of 30. The exam is successfully passed when the mark is equal to or higher than 18/30. The highest mark can be assigned cum laude.
Criteria for conferring the final mark:
The final mark is given considering the levels of knowledge acquired and shown during the oral test, and it is conferred considering the theoretical and training parts.
Notes taken during the lecturers and powerpoint presentations handed out by the lecturers.
Other suggested readings: Biodiversity an Introduction. Gaston & Spider. Blackwell Science.
Biogeografia. La dimensione spaziale dell’evoluzione. Zumino & Zullini. Casa Ed Ambrosiana.
Understanding Marine Biodiversity. National Research Consil. National Academy press.
Other publications available on line and Internet sites are also recommended and listed in the powerpoint presentations.