Possibility to conduct a Bachelor or Master degree internship at the laboratories of the Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences in Bologna



The research project aims to spread environmental awareness among tourists, creating a training program which includes lectures, practical biology lessons, and guided tours. Through the use of questionnaires we will develop our research on the sustainability of tourism, with the involvement of researchers in social psychology, to quantify the actual behavioral and attitudinal changes of the tourists towards the environment. Students will be asked to spend a period “in the field” where the experimental data will be collected, actively contributing to the development of a sustainable eco-tourism.



STE project is a volunteer-based Red Sea coral reef biodiversity monitoring program. Data on the presence and abundance of key coral reef taxa is collected by non-specialist volunteers by filling out a questionnaire at the end of their recreational dive. The student not only actively involves the tourists but also promotes environmental education, increasing their environmental awareness and contributing to the development of sustainable tourism. The gathered information is then added to a database and elaborated. The student is involved in the divulgation of the project by getting in touch with the mass media (magazines and periodicals, tv shows and radio, airplane magazines, etc.) and actively participating to the scientific divulgation events.



CoralWarm project’s main goal is to evaluate the effect of increasing seawater temperature and acidity on the biology and ecology of Mediterranean corals. The effect of temperature is being investigated on populations located along a wide latitudinal gradient along the Italian Tyrrhenian coast, comprising a temperature difference of ~2 °C. The effect of acidification is being investigated in a “natural laboratory” located off Panarea Island, where CO2 emissions coming from the seabed acidify the surrounding seawater, creating a natural acidity gradient. Along this gradient, coral species were transplanted to study how increasing acidity influences their mortality, growth and reproduction.

CoralWarm is a multidisciplinary project, covering several aspects of coral biology:

Reproductive biology

Reproductive biology is studied using hystological techniques. Cytometric analyses are made with an optical microscope using an image analyzer program. These analyses allow to identify and quantify germ cells inside the polyps, in order to define the gonad maturation stages, the fecundity period and the embryonic development that will end with the larvae release (planulation). The analyses are being performed on populations characterized by different temperature and solar radiation regimes, to investigate how these environmental parameters influence the reproductive biology of the species under study.

Biometry and population dynamics

The age of corals is determination my means of computerized tomography, through growth band count (sclerochronology) and in situ measurements. Growth rates and other demographic parameters are obtained through mathematical models. All these biological parameters are measured for all the populations under study and are subsequently correlated with temperature and solar radiation to determine possible trends with environmental parameters.


The composition and the process underlying the formation of coral skeletons is being studied by means of fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), x-ray powder diffraction analyses (XRD), thermo-gravimetric analysis (TGS) to estimate the organic matter content and in vitro crystallization experiments. The outcome of the crystallization experiments is analyzed through scanning electron microscopy, to determine differences between species and with environmental parameters.

Skeletal mechanical properties

Skeletal mechanical properties (hardness and stiffness) are investigated my means through nanoindentation techniques. Before proceeding to the indentation, the porosity of the samples is measured by means of time-domain nuclear magnetic resonance (TD-NMR), which allows the quantification of the number and size of pores inside the skeleton. These parameters are then plotted against temperature and solar radiation to identify significant trends.



The clams project’s main goal is to study the effects of increasing temperature on biological, chemical and physical parameters of clam (Chamelea gallina) populations along a wide latitudinal gradient. Morphological characteristics of the valves are determined as well as the age of the sample through growth band count of TC scans (sclerochronology). The type and structure of the crystals of the valves is investigated by means of fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), x-ray powder diffraction analyses (XRD), thermo-gravimetric analysis (TGA) and crystallization experiments. Information on the porosity is determined through the buoyant weight technique.


Opportunity of diving in the Mediterranean and Red Sea to collect data
Opportunity for abroad periods

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