MARINE SCIENCE Interdisciplinary Research GROUP (MSG) is the research group founded on 1997 by Stefano Goffredo, member of the research group of Francesco Zaccanti, Full Professor of Zoology, Director of the Department of Evolutionary and Experimental Biology of the University of Bologna for two terms (1998-2001 and 2001-2004), member of the Academic Senate (1999-2002), tutor and supervisor of MSG research.

MSG research fields are marine biology and ecology. MSG members comprise professors, researchers, students of the University and all citizens who want to contribute to improving the knowledge about marine bio-ecology and marine biodiversity conservation. In fact, MSG was founded on the conviction that by leaving ministerial boundaries and finding cooperation in non-institutional areas, university research might achieve results that are otherwise difficult to obtain, results which at the same time can be used and appreciated also by the non-university people themselves.

Hence the word “interdisciplinary”, part of the group’s name, which underlines the fact that different skills, linked by work or friendship, are today present inside MSG and contribute to the achievement of research goals. MSG’s traditional research concerns the ecological distribution, reproductive biology, and population dynamics of tropical and Mediterranean corals. Several publications have been realized in these fields, also in collaboration with foreign researchers. Among them, Dott. Nanette Chadwick of the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Science of Eilat (Israel) and Auburn University (USA) collaborated to MSG research since the group’s foundation.

More recently, Prof. Howard Lasker and Mary Alice Coffroth of State University of New York at Buffalo (USA), collaborated for research about growth and population dynamics and genetics of Western Atlantic (Florida, USA and Bahamas) and Mediterranean corals.

Concerning the study on the effect of climate change on Mediterranean and Red Sea coral biology and ecology, MSG collaborates with Prof. Zvy Dubinsky of the Bar Ilan University (Israel). Since 1999, particular effort was made for biodiversity monitoring, with special attention to species at risk of extinction. MSG marine environmental monitoring studies have the peculiarity of being performed in collaboration with recreational divers. In this field, MSG conceived three research projects, “Mediterranean Hippocampus Mission”, “Divers for the Environment – Mediterranean Underwater Biodiversity Project”, and “STE – Scuba Tourism for the Environment”, which received the patronage of the Ministry of the Environment.

A peculiarity of MSG research activity regards the fund raising. In fact, since MSG’s foundation, 54% of research costs was sustained by private enterprises operating in the fields of tourism and recreational diving. On January 2005, MSG was appointed by the Maldivian Government to organize the first survey on local reef state after the tsunami of December 2004.