Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e dell'Ambiente - Guida degli insegnamenti (Syllabus)


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Seat Scienze
A.A. 2016/2017
Credits 7
Hours 56
Period 2^ semestre
Language ENG
U-gov code SM02 5S148


Knowledge of topics of General Biology.

Development of the course

Both theoretical (6 CFU, 48 hours) and practical (1 CFU, 8 hours) lessons will be provided.

Learning outcomes

This course will provide students the instruments for understanding the aspects of systematics, biology and ecology of algae groups and marine Angiosperms. Students will be provided with the instruments and the methodological approaches to recognize the marine plant groups. The students will know the biodiversity of plant communities in different marine environment, considering the main relationships with environmental factors. They will know also the main use of algae and the algae impact in human activities.

Ability to apply the knowledge:
Students will acquire the capability to recognize the main groups of marine plants which represents a professionalizing ability in several work felds.

Soft skills:
Knowledges acquired in this course, together with those acquired in other basic courses (e.g., Biodiversity of marine animals, and Marine Biology and Ecology) will provide students with the cultural basis of marine biology allowing them to recognize marine plants and enabling them to work in the field. 


Theoretical lessons (6 CFU, 48 hours)
Introduction to algae. General characteristics and ecology. Pjhylogenetic relationships.
Cyanobacteria: cytology, morphology, reproduction and ecology.
The origin of eukaryotic algae. Primary, secondary and tertiary endosymbiosis. The distribution of algae in eukaryote supergroups.
Systematics and ecology of eukaryotic algae: Glaucophyta,Rhodophyta, Chlorophyta and Streptophyta, Cryptophyta, Haptophyta, Dinophyta, Stramenopili (Chrysophyceae, Bacillariohyceae, Dictyochophyceae, Raphidophyceae, Phaeophyceae etc.), Euglenophyta, Chlorarachniophyta. For each group the following topics will be addressed: general characteristics; origin and evolution; cell structure; anatomic and morphological organization; reproduction and life cycle; distribution and ecology; symbiotic relationships; economic importance and industrial uses; biogeography and alien species.
Seagrasses. Morphological, anatomical and reproductive adaptations. Biodiversity and biogeography. seagrasses of the Mediterranean Sea; meadow types. Systematics of the Mediterranean seagrasses.
Mangroves: biogeography; morphological, physiological and reproductive adaptations.
Phytoplankton communities. Analytical techniques. Sampling strategies for phytoplankton. Algal blooms. Factors affecting phytoplankton biodiversity and cycle. Annual cycles hypothetical and post-Sverdrup hypotheses. Biogeography and diversity of phytoplankton in the Mediterranean Sea. Deep Chlorophyll Maximum. Study cases: phytoplankton in the Adriatic Sea.
Microphytobenthos communities. Soft bottom microalgae (epipelon, epipsammon), hard bottom ones (epilithon), microalgae associated to organisms (epiphyton, epizoon). Growth forms of benthic microalgae. Importance and ecological role of microphytobenthos. Ecological factors affecting microphytobenthos growth. 
Macrophyte communities. Environmental factors affecting benthic macrophytes. Algae morphotypes: relationships with grazing and production. Biogeography. Litophytic, psammophytic, epiphytic and drift seaweeds. Vegetation plans and macrophyte communities.
Harmful algal blooms. Toxic microalgae, exposure ways, and vector organisms. Main biointoxications (DSP, PSP, NSP, ASP, CFP, AZA). Raphidophyte and haptophyte toxins. Ciguatera. Palytoxins. Methods to preventing biointoxications.

Practical lessons (1 CFU, 8 hours/student)
Foe each students, for practical lessons (2 hours each) will be done.
I. Techniques to sample and analyse of phytoplankton. Observation at the light microscope of phytoplankton and microphytobenthos samples.
II. Setting up of algal cultures. Cell isolation. Preparation of growth medium.
III. Macroalgae identification. Sectioning of thalli at the cryotome. Setting up of slides and light microscope observations.
IV. Field practice. Sampling of substrata for the analysis of toxic epiphytic microalgae. Sample treatment and observation.

Development of the examination

Methods for assessing learning outcomes:
Evaluation of learning will be effected by oral examination. Examination consists in three questions on the course topics.

Criteria for assessing learning outcomes: 
In the oral examination, the student should prove a good knowledge of Program topics.

Criteria for measuring learning outcomes:
The final mark is given in thirtieths. The examination is passed when the mark is higher or equal to 18/30. The cum laude assignation is also possible (30 cum laude). 

Criteria for conferring final mark:
The final mark is given considering the student preparation, the thorough knowledge and the exposition ability.

Recommended reading

Lecture notes
GRAHAM L.E., GRAHAM J.M, WILCOX L.W., COOK M.E. 2016. Algae 3rd edition. LJLM Press.
LEE R.E., 2008. Phycology. 4th edition. Cambridge University Press.

  • Biologia marina

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