Ecology and physiology of global changes
The world is rapidly changing. The Ocean is no exception, even if much of these changes have gone largely unnoticed. The course provides an overview of the changes and deviations induced by climate and other global changes that modify the the entire spectrum from individuals to ecosystem.
The first part of the course provides an introduction to those changes, their historical drivers (resource extraction and overexploitation, pollution, land and sea use change, invasive species and climate change) and the profound impacts and modifications they have caused to marine ecosystems and their associated biodiversity, including the effects on human societies and economies. The students will also learn about the challenges for biodiversity conservation, restoration and management in a highly modified and rapidly changing context.
The second part of the course will go deeper into the potential for adaptation of organisms to those changes, providing a solid base of knowledge on the biological responses that marine animals can adopt to respond to ongoing environmental variations of chemical-physical parameters, which will provide predictive skills at physiological and ecological levels.
Specifically, physiological responses will be explored both at molecular and organ system levels, highlighting the role of phenotypic plasticity and adaptation. Although the greatest focus will be on temperature variations, responses to changes in CO2, pH, O2 and salinity will also be considered.
The teaching methods will include interactive frontal lessons and seminars by students, during which scientific results published in international journals will be analyzed and presented (journal club).
The two course teachers are Prof. Laura Airoldi for the ecology part, and Prof. Gianfranco Santovito for the physiology part.
For the complete program please consult the Syllabus