Acquario di Genoa

Ponte Gardena - Waidbruck, Italy

Acquario di Genoa

Ponte Gardena - Waidbruck, Italy
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Osinga R.,Wageningen University | Schutter M.,Wageningen University | Wijgerde T.,Wageningen University | Rinkevich B.,National Institute of Oceanography of Israel | And 23 more authors.
Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom | Year: 2012

In order to improve the methodology for growing and maintaining corals in captivity, a consortium of European zoos, aquaria and academia executed a four-year public/private collaborative research and innovation project (CORALZOO) on the breeding and husbandry of stony corals. CORALZOO comprised the following topics: (1) sexual and asexual breeding of corals in captivity, including techniques for propagation, feeding and induction of natural coral colony morphogenesis; and (2) coral husbandry: development of generic bioassays to evaluate biotic and abiotic husbandry parameters and to monitor coral health, elaboration of methods for identification and treatment of coral diseases and optimization of transport and acclimation procedures. The results of this project are reviewed. Copyright © Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 2012.


Osinga R.,Wageningen University | Schutter M.,Wageningen University | Griffioen B.,Wageningen University | Wijffels R.H.,Wageningen University | And 6 more authors.
Marine Biotechnology | Year: 2011

To protect natural coral reefs, it is of utmost importance to understand how the growth of the main reef-building organisms-the zooxanthellate scleractinian corals-is controlled. Understanding coral growth is also relevant for coral aquaculture, which is a rapidly developing business. This review paper provides a comprehensive overview of factors that can influence the growth of zooxanthellate scleractinian corals, with particular emphasis on interactions between these factors. Furthermore, the kinetic principles underlying coral growth are discussed. The reviewed information is put into an economic perspective by making an estimation of the costs of coral aquaculture. © 2011 The Author(s).


Favaro L.,University of Turin | Gnone G.,Acquario di Genoa | Pessani D.,University of Turin
Zoo Biology | Year: 2013

In spite of all the information available on adult bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) biosonar, the ontogeny of its echolocation abilities has been investigated very little. Earlier studies have reported that neonatal dolphins can produce both whistles and burst-pulsed sounds just after birth and that early-pulsed sounds are probably a precursor of echolocation click trains. The aim of this research is to investigate the development of echolocation signals in a captive calf, born in the facilities of the Acquario di Genova. A set of 81 impulsive sounds were collected from birth to the seventh postnatal week and six additional echolocation click trains were recorded when the dolphin was 1 year old. Moreover, behavioral observations, concurring with sound production, were carried out by means of a video camera. For each sound we measured five acoustic parameters: click train duration (CTD), number of clicks per train, minimum, maximum, and mean click repetition rate (CRR). CTD and number of clicks per train were found to increase with age. Maximum and mean CRR followed a decreasing trend with dolphin growth starting from the second postnatal week. The calf's first head scanning movement was recorded 21 days after birth. Our data suggest that in the bottlenose dolphin the early postnatal weeks are essential for the development of echolocation abilities and that the temporal features of the echolocation click trains remain relatively stable from the seventh postnatal week up to the first year of life. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Marini C.,University of Genoa | Fossa F.,Acquario di Genoa | Paoli C.,University of Genoa | Bellingeri M.,Acquario di Genoa | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Environmental Management | Year: 2015

Habitat modeling is an important tool to investigate the quality of the habitat for a species within a certain area, to predict species distribution and to understand the ecological processes behind it. Many species have been investigated by means of habitat modeling techniques mainly to address effective management and protection policies and cetaceans play an important role in this context. The bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) has been investigated with habitat modeling techniques since 1997. The objectives of this work were to predict the distribution of bottlenose dolphin in a coastal area through the use of static morphological features and to compare the prediction performances of three different modeling techniques: Generalized Linear Model (GLM), Generalized Additive Model (GAM) and Random Forest (RF). Four static variables were tested: depth, bottom slope, distance from 100m bathymetric contour and distance from coast. RF revealed itself both the most accurate and the most precise modeling technique with very high distribution probabilities predicted in presence cells (90.4% of mean predicted probabilities) and with 66.7% of presence cells with a predicted probability comprised between 90% and 100%. The bottlenose distribution obtained with RF allowed the identification of specific areas with particularly high presence probability along the coastal zone; the recognition of these core areas may be the starting point to develop effective management practices to improve T.truncatus protection. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


Robeck T.R.,SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment Corporation | Gili C.,Acquario di Genoa | Doescher B.M.,Sea For Life | Sweeney J.,Dolphin Quest Hawaii | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2012

Progesterone production is essential for growth and development of the conceptus during pregnancy. Abnormal development of the corpus luteum (CL) after conception can result in early embryonic loss or fetal abortion. Routine monitoring of bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) pregnancy after artificial insemination or natural conception with ultrasonography and serum progesterone determination has allowed for the establishment of expected fetal growth rates and hormone concentrations. Using these monitoring techniques, we revealed four pregnant dolphins (12-24 yr old) with abnormally low progesterone production indicative of luteal insufficiency. Once diagnosed, animals were placed on altrenogest (0.044-0.088 mg/kg once daily) alone or with oral progesterone (50-200 mg twice daily). Doses of hormone were increased or decreased in each animal based on how fetal skull biparietal and thoracic growth rates compared with published normal values. Hormones were withdrawn starting from day 358 of gestation in animals 1 and 2, with labor occurring 6 and 7 days after withdrawal and at 376 and 373 days of gestation, respectively. Both deliveries were dystocic, with each calf requiring manual extraction and fetotomy for calf 1. The fetuses in animals 3 and 4 died at 348 and 390 days of gestation, respectively. Induction of labor was attempted in both animals, after fetal death, by using a combination of rapid progesterone withdrawal and steroid and prostaglandin F2α administration. The calf of animal 4 had to be removed with manual cervical dilation and fetotomy. All adult females survived the procedures. These data provide the first in vivo evidence that the CL is the primary source of progesterone throughout pregnancy in the bottlenose dolphin. Until further characterization of hormones required during pregnancy and at parturition has been accomplished, the exogenous progestagen supplementation protocol described here cannot be recommended for treatment of progesterone insufficiency in bottlenose dolphins. © 2012 American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.


Lasagna R.,Acquario di Genoa | Lasagna R.,University of Genoa | Gnone G.,Acquario di Genoa | Taruffi M.,Acquario di Genoa | And 4 more authors.
Ecological Indicators | Year: 2014

Coral reefs are threatened worldwide by climatic change and increasing anthropogenic pressures. Standardized and simple metrics assessing their status and their potential to recover are urgently needed to achieve large scale homogeneous information. Here we propose a synthetic Coral Condition Index (CCI) based on the proportional abundance of coral colonies belonging to six ordinal categories which represent their condition: recently dead, bleached, smothered, upturned, broken, and healthy. CCI ranges from 0 (100% of dead corals) to 1 (100% of healthy corals) with low values suggesting large scale disturbances (e.g., climate impacts), and high values suggesting disturbances acting on a small scale that can be averted by local management actions. We tested the performance of this index in Maldives, which suffered from coral mass mortality following bleaching in 1998 and mechanical damage due to the tsunami of 2004. In our evaluation CCI was applied on the most represented species, i.e., tabular Acropora and Pocillopora, which were counted from 2005 to 2010 using replicated belt transects at several depths and across different habitats. CCI did not show correlated to the number of total coral colonies suggesting the possibility to employ the index under different levels of coral abundance. CCI detected high levels of coral damage, which is likely due to the documented slow recovery of Maldivian reefs after the two major disturbance events. Further tests in other tropical regions with different coral species might promote CCI as an additional parameter for coral reef monitoring and restoration programs. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Carnabuci M.,Messina University | Schiavon G.,University of Genoa | Bellingeri M.,Acquario di Genoa | Fossa F.,Acquario di Genoa | And 3 more authors.
Population Ecology | Year: 2016

The bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus Montagu, 1821) is a regularly observed species in the Mediterranean Sea, but its network organization has never been investigated on a large scale. We described the network macrostructure of the bottlenose dolphin (meta)population inhabiting the Pelagos Sanctuary (a wide protected area located in the north-western portion of the Mediterranean basin) and we analysed its connectivity in relation to the landscape traits. We pooled effort and sighting data collected by 13 different research institutions operating within the Pelagos Sanctuary from 1994 to 2011 to examine the distribution of bottlenose dolphins in the Pelagos study area and then we applied a social network analysis, investigating the association patterns of the photo-identified dolphins (806 individuals in 605 sightings). The bottlenose dolphin (meta)population inhabiting the Pelagos Sanctuary is clustered in discrete units whose borders coincide with habitat breakages. This complex structure seems to be shaped by the geo-morphological and ecological features of the landscape, through a mechanism of local specialization of the resident dolphins. Five distinct clusters were identified in the (meta)population and two of them were solid enough to be further investigated and compared. Significant differences were found in the network parameters, suggesting a different social organization of the clusters, possibly as a consequence of the different local specialization. © 2016, The Society of Population Ecology and Springer Japan.


PubMed | University of Genoa and Acquario di Genoa
Type: | Journal: Journal of environmental management | Year: 2015

Habitat modeling is an important tool to investigate the quality of the habitat for a species within a certain area, to predict species distribution and to understand the ecological processes behind it. Many species have been investigated by means of habitat modeling techniques mainly to address effective management and protection policies and cetaceans play an important role in this context. The bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) has been investigated with habitat modeling techniques since 1997. The objectives of this work were to predict the distribution of bottlenose dolphin in a coastal area through the use of static morphological features and to compare the prediction performances of three different modeling techniques: Generalized Linear Model (GLM), Generalized Additive Model (GAM) and Random Forest (RF). Four static variables were tested: depth, bottom slope, distance from 100m bathymetric contour and distance from coast. RF revealed itself both the most accurate and the most precise modeling technique with very high distribution probabilities predicted in presence cells (90.4% of mean predicted probabilities) and with 66.7% of presence cells with a predicted probability comprised between 90% and 100%. The bottlenose distribution obtained with RF allowed the identification of specific areas with particularly high presence probability along the coastal zone; the recognition of these core areas may be the starting point to develop effective management practices to improve T.truncatus protection.


Luna G.M.,Marche Polytechnic University | Bongiorni L.,Marche Polytechnic University | Gili C.,Acquario di Genoa | Biavasco F.,Marche Polytechnic University | Danovaro R.,Marche Polytechnic University
Environmental Microbiology Reports | Year: 2010

We investigated bacterial assemblages associated with corals displaying symptoms of the 'White Syndrome' (WS), a general term used for indicating the appearance of bands, spots or patches of tissue loss, which is devastating wide areas of tropical ecosystems worldwide. We collected WS-diseased (n = 15) and healthy (n = 15) corals from the natural reef (Indonesia, Indian Ocean) and from four large public aquaria. By using culture-dependent and culture-independent techniques, we found that a large fraction (73%) of the investigated WS events was associated with the presence of a high bacterial abundance and, specifically, of Vibrio spp. Vibrio harveyi, a pathogen of many marine organisms and recently involved in coral Yellow Band disease, was the most represented species, being recovered from five out of 15 diseased corals. In experimental infection assays, two V. harveyi strains, isolated from diseased corals, were inoculated on a total of 62 healthy colonies of Pocillopora damicornis. WS signs appeared in 57 corals, confirming the ability of V. harveyi strains to induce the disease. We conclude that V. harveyi is one of the coral pathogens involved in the appearance of WS. However, not all of the investigated WSs were associated to V. harveyi detection, nor to other Vibrio species (such as V. coralliilyticus), which supports the hypothesis that WS is not caused exclusively by Vibrio spp., but rather can have a multifactorial aetiology, or can represent a group of diseases caused by a variety of agents. Further investigations to identify specific virulence traits will contribute to the understanding of the role of V. harveyi in WS pathogenesis. © 2009 Society for Applied Microbiology and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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