Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche - Istituto di Scienze Marine (Ancona)
ISMAR conducts research in polar, oceanic and Mediterranean regions, focusing on the following themes : the evolution of oceans and their continental margins, studying submarine volcanoes, faults and slides and their potential impacts onshore the influence of climate change on oceanic circulation, acidification, bio-geochemical cycles and marine productivity submarine habitats and ecology, and the increasing pollution of coastal and deep-sea environments the evolution of fish stocks with a view to keeping commercial fishing within sustainable limits and improving mariculture and aquaculture practices natural and anthropogenic factors impacting economically and socially on coastal systems from pre-history to the industrial epoch.
Physical and chemical oceanography
ISMAR investigates the structure and dynamics of the ocean and how it interacts with the biological and chemical processes leading to eutrophication and hypoxia/anoxia. A key goal is understanding the interaction of the ocean with the atmosphere and the seafloor, across its upper and lower boundaries. The research is carried out by combining observational and model-based approaches.
Geology and geophysics
ISMAR studies the evolution of rift basins, mid-ocean ridges and transform faults in the Mediterranean, Red Sea, Equatorial Atlantic and peri-Antarctic seas. The team also studies active tectonic structures and related geo-hazards within the Mediterranean region as well as submarine volcanoes and hydrothermal processes.
Climate and paleoclimate
ISMAR contributes to the study of the Earth’s climate and the impact of human activities that are stressing the climate system. Changes in the Earth’s climate are governed by complex interactions involving the atmosphere, the oceans, planetary volcanism, the cryosphere, the biosphere and external forces such as the variability of solar radiation.
Ecosystems and bio-geochemistry
ISMAR has a long tradition of focusing on the comprehensive study of biodiversity of marine systems from transitional to deep-sea habitats, including extreme ecosystems in polar and chemosynthetic environments. Particular attention is devoted to the study of phenology and the structure and functioning of plankton and benthic communities in relation to the environment, the climate and human impact.
Coastal systems: natural processes and human impacts
The coastal zone has been pervasively modified by humans over several millennia and especially since the industrial revolution. The Mediterranean provides some of the most extensive and diverse varieties of coastal environment in the world; ISMAR studies the response of these systems to climate change in order to improve environmental planning strategies.
Technological studies are carried out to enhance the performance and efficiency of fishing equipment, in order to reduce the quantity of protected species in the bycatch and develop fuel-saving fishing practices. ISMAR has long been involved in studying the behaviour of innovative metallic materials in the marine environment and developing new pre-treatments and coatings designed to protect materials from corrosion and biofouling, thus minimizing environmental pollution. In addition, ISMAR develops tools for innovative sea-floor sampling to study the water-sediment interface and retrieve long and undisturbed sedimentary sections for the study of past environmental change.