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


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Seat Scienze
A.A. 2016/2017
Credits 6
Hours 48
Period 2^ semestre
Language ENG
U-gov code ST01 3S064


Knowledge of the main topics in Physics, General Chemistry. Inorganic and organic chemistry, biochemistry, Ecology, Zoology and Botany.

Development of the course

Frontal lectures (5 credits ECTS, 40 hours), and 1 credit of laboratory practical exercises and field activities or practical courses visiting external laboratories. 

Learning outcomes

The course aims to provide students with the basic principles of the Marine Biology, by studying the main marine environmental variables and biological responses, analyzing the relationships between structure/function/environment.

Ability to apply the knowledge:
The student should demonstrate their ability in linking different topics and in applying theoretical knowledge to case studies, judging independently, understanding processes of marine biology, phenomena and environmental events that may influence, drive or affect the life at sea.


Content (lectures, 5 ECTS, 40 hours): The content of the course includes:
Past, present and future of marine biology, history of marine biology in Italy, the present and the future of marine biology, marine biology research in the next decade.
The marine environment, the deep ocean, properties and characteristics of the seawater, the properties of seawater determined by hydrogen bonds, determined by the properties of seawater salinity, the sea: a dynamic biosphere, sea and land compared.
Adaptations and specialization of marine organisms, adaptations to life in the sea, structure, locomotion and dispersion, structures of support and protection, bio-constructors, nutrition, metabolism and adaptation to temperature, mode of oxygen use, adaptation to exposure to 'air, adaptation to salinity, adaptation to pressure, light adaptation, vision, bioluminescence, receiving systems, electrical conductivity, communicate and produce sounds in water.
Marine biodiversity, origin and evolution of life at sea, theories on the origin of life, evolution of marine biodiversity, speciation mechanisms at sea biodiversity in historical processes, marine animal populations in human history, quantify the biodiversity of organisms marine, biodiversity definitions, definition of the different levels of biodiversity, comparison between marine and terrestrial biodiversity, biodiversity measures, processes that control the distribution of marine biodiversity hotspots (hotspots) of biodiversity, biodiversity gradients, tropical biodiversity, pattern bathymetry of marine biodiversity, marine biogeography, biogeography terrestrial and marine biogeographic, biogeographical regions, biogeography of the Mediterranean, alien species and lessepsian migration, theories of evolution and of maintaining biodiversity, the relationship between biodiversity and functioning of marine ecosystems, loss of biodiversity.
Biodiversity and Ecology of Benthos, plankton and benthos in comparison, classification of benthos by size, femtobenthos, picobenthos, nanobenthos, microbenthos, meiobenthos (meiofauna), macrobenthos and megabenthos, macrophytobenthos (macrophytes), classification of benthos feeding types, benthos of hard bottom, benthos of soft sediments, biotic interactions in the seafloor, the benthos in space and time, the benthic bionomics, zonation of benthos, zonation of benthos according to the model of Peres and Picard, zonation of benthos according to Riedl.
Biodiversity and ecology of plankton, the organisms of plankton, classification based on the plankton distribution along the water column, plankton classification based on the life cycle, classification of plankton based on size classes, virioplankton, picoplankton, nanoplankton, microplankton, mesozooplankton , macro and mega-zooplankton, abundance of the different components of the plankton in comparison, distribution of plankton, an example of the plankton distribution at macroscale controlled by physical factors: El Niño, an example of small-scale distribution of plankton: the vertical migrations, ecology plankton, as do many phytoplankton species to coexist in a volume of water: a tribute to Santa Rosalia, nutritional modalities in zooplankton.
Biodiversity and ecology of the nekton and marine mammals, the main characteristics of the organisms of the nekton, fish, bony fishes, billfish, biodiversity patterns, ecology nekton, elasmobranchs, cephalopods, ecology of cephalopods, marine reptiles, seabirds, marine mammals, Sirenids, carnivores, cetaceans, large migrations of nekton, role of top predators in the food webs.
Ecosystem functioning, intraspecific processes, life cycles and reproduction, forms of resistance and benthic-pelagic coupling, primary production, secondary production, extra-specific processes, organic matter and debris in the water, dissolved organic matter in the sea (DOM), the coupling pelagic-benthic coupling, consequences of the export of organic matter to the seafloor.

Practical courses, field and laboratory analyses (1 CFU, 8 hours / student): The practical course consists in the analysis and sorting of benthos and plankton organisms. Identification of marine species, microscopic analyses. Depending on the research vessel availability also field activities are possible.

Development of the examination

Methods for assessing learning outcomes:
The examination consists of a multiple question test (generally 34), and each correct response is worth 1 point, followed by oral discussion (or direct verbalization of the test results). The oral discussion can improve the test score for up to 6 points. The results of the test remains valid for one year. More consecutive appeals can be tried and only the best score obtained is considered.

Criteria for assessing learning outcomes: 
In the oral discussion (which is possible after passing the test), the students must demonstrate the knowledge of the main features, both biotic and abiotic environments and marine biology, as well as the ability to apply the knowledge gained.

Criteria for measuring learning outcomes:
The final mark is awarded out of thirty. The exam is passed when the grade is greater than or equal to 18. It is expected to be awarded the highest marks with honours (30 cum laude).

Criteria for conferring final mark:
The final mark is conferred on the basis of the oral test.

Recommended reading

Power Points of the Lectures
Lecture notes 
DANOVARO R., 2013. Biologia marina. Città Studi, De Agostini.

  • Scienze biologiche

Università Politecnica delle Marche
P.zza Roma 22, 60121 Ancona
Tel (+39) 071.220.1, Fax (+39) 071.220.2324
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