WP1.AZ2 - Integration of observational systems for the realization of "observatories"

The Action strengthens and integrates the survey systems already active in the Gulf of Naples, in order to test the concept of “marine Observatory”.

The planned activity starts from a well-established and long-term observational activity, supported by experience gained through the participation in the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network and similar international initiatives.

The main challenge in the construction of this experimental Observatory is the high importance of the biological component of the system. Despite the complexity of the observations, this component is absolutely at the core of the most pressing problems, related to the coastal areas and topics, such as system productivity and its use as a resource, eutrophication, ecological status (GES) and human health. Another innovative aspect of the concept of Observatory is its dynamism, as it is due to respond quickly to unexpected events.

The sample site is the fixed station LTER MareChiara (LTER-MC), located 2 miles off the city of Naples (40°48.5'N, 14°15'E) at a depth of about 75 m. Since 1984, the Zoological Station has been sampling and analyzing the pelagic sector in order to assess the influence of environmental and biological factors on the plankton diversity and dynamics in this site. The measured parameters include: temperature, salinity, oxygen and fluorescence, inorganic nutrients, total N and P, C and N particles, photosynthetic pigments, abundance and diversity of bacteria, phytoplankton, ciliates and mesozooplankton. More detailed information on LTER-MC can be found on the webpage szn.macisteweb.com

During the project, the parameter survey activity is reinforced and adapted to international standards, and the data production is optimized in order to interpret quickly unexpected environmental situations, and, as a consequence, to implement additional surveys and communicate promptly with authorities and citizens. At the same time, other researches delineate the consecutive causes of the observed biotic variability. As a consequence, it strengthens the integration between different type of observations, including large-scale hydrographic, meteorological and satellite observations, in collaboration with other groups in RITMARE project or other ongoing programs. The identification of signals, patterns and indicators of the system state could lead to a rapid and effective translation of data into information, predictive capacities and pivot elements of the coastal environment management.

In addition to established techniques, the latest molecular techniques are implemented in order to characterize both the biodiversity and the functional aspects of the planktonic populations, also using results of experimental works (in RITMARE project or other SZN resources). In this way, it is possible to verify the potential of new approaches that take full advantage of the results of recent technological developments in the biomolecular field, and in the functioning of marine Observatories.

The model tested in the Gulf of Naples through this experimental activity could be used as a test and example to create an interdisciplinary, modern network of Observatories in line with the needs of society.

Action leader Adriana Zingone - SZN