Monica Montefalcone

Monica Montefalcone
Università degli Studi di Genova | UNIGE · Dipartimento di Scienze della terra, dell'ambiente e della vita (DISTAV)

PhD in Marine Science

About

179
Publications
71,726
Reads
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4,891
Citations
Citations since 2016
85 Research Items
3624 Citations
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20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500600
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500600
Introduction
Monica Montefalcone currently works at the Dipartimento di Scienze della terra, dell'ambiente e della vita (DISTAV), Università degli Studi di Genova. Monica does research in Ecology and Marine Biology.

Publications

Publications (179)
Article
The red gorgonian Paramuricea clavata is a fundamental ecosystem engineer of coralligenous biocenosis in the Mediterranean Sea, where it plays crucial ecological functions and enhances the habitat biodiversity. However, this species is strongly endangered due to climate change-related stressors such as mucilage events, which have increased in recen...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The Posidonia oceanica seagrass is the foundation species of the coastal Mediterranean, whose meadows support significant ecosystem services: food security, coastal protection, biodiversity maintenance, carbon sequestration, amongst others. This endemic in the basin seagrass features the largest carbon storage among seagrasses globally, contributin...
Chapter
The Serpulidae are a large family of sedentary polychaetes, characterized by a calcareous habitation tube, which they cannot leave. The calcium carbonate tube is in the form of both aragonite and calcite, in fairly constant ratio for each taxon. Tubes are cemented firmly to any hard substrate (in only few species tubes are free). Although in the ma...
Conference Paper
Sea caves are priority habitats in need of protection according to the Habitat Directive of the European Union and to the Mediterranean Action Plan of the United Nations Environment Programme, and most Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) include sea caves. The rocky cliffs of the Portofino MPA (Ligurian Sea) host a number of sea caves, whic...
Conference Paper
Coralligenous reefs are a habitat of high conservation value, which needs continuous monitoring for its management. Among the vast array of existing methods, visual criteria are to be preferred as they are not destructive and make immediately available the data collected. However, a problem often neglected is the variability between observers, whic...
Conference Paper
Submerged marine caves, priority habitats under European directives, are subjected to a combination of global and local human pressures. Although information about the effects of global warming on marine caves is seldom available, there is still very little information about the effects of local pressures on these unique habitats. In this study we...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Biotic indices are major tools recommended by European Directives for assessing the ecological status of marine coastal ecosystems. Although they have a relatively recent history, ecological indices have been widely used since their appearance in the 2000s under the requirements of the Water Framework Directive. The synergistic effect of anthropoge...
Conference Paper
The green alga Caulerpa cylindracea, one of the worst invasive species in the Mediterranean Sea, was first recorded in the Ligurian Sea (NW Mediterranean) in 1996 and in the Portofino Marine Protected Area in 2008. Monitoring at Portofino between 2012 and 2017 showed that it was widespread between 1 m and 45 m depth. A new period of monitoring, 201...
Article
Full-text available
Monitoring the spread of non-indigenous species is fundamental to study global warming effects on marine biodiversity. A valuable tool is represented by the continuous updating of the geographic range expansion of non-indigenous species. Lamprohaminoea ovalis is a Lessepsian mollusc initially recorded in the Mediterranean Sea in 2001. This paper re...
Article
Full-text available
Climate change is causing an increase in the frequency and intensity of marine heatwaves (MHWs) and mass mortality events (MMEs) of marine organisms are one of their main ecological impacts. Here, we show that during the 2015–2019 period, the Mediterranean Sea has experienced exceptional thermal conditions resulting in the onset of five consecutive...
Article
Full-text available
The seagrass Posidonia oceanica is the main habitat-forming species of the coastal Mediterranean, providing millennial-scale ecosystem services including habitat provisioning, biodiversity maintenance, food security, coastal protection, and carbon sequestration. Meadows of this endemic seagrass species represent the largest carbon storage among sea...
Article
Full-text available
Underwater photogrammetry provides a means of generating high-resolution products such as dense point clouds, 3D models, and orthomosaics with centimetric scale resolutions. Underwater photogrammetric models can be used to monitor the growth and expansion of benthic communities, including the assessment of the conservation status of seagrass beds a...
Article
Marine ecosystems are subject to global and local impacts, both contributing to dramatic changes in coastal communities. Assessing such changes requires time series or the revisitation of sites first surveyed in the past. In both cases, data are not necessarily collected by the same observers, which could lead to a bias in the results. In the Marin...
Article
Seawater warming is affecting corals worldwide. Mass mortality events are increasingly frequent, and the bioconstruction potential of coral reefs is jeopardized. Revisiting sites surveyed in the past may represent a valuable tool to better understand the health state and ongoing trend of coral reefs. In the Mediterranean Sea the only reef-building...
Article
Full-text available
Local, regional and global targets have been set to halt marine biodiversity loss. Europe has set its own policy targets to achieve Good Environmental Status (GES) of marine ecosystems by implementing the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) across member states. We combined an extensive dataset across five Mediterranean ecoregions including...
Article
Biodiversity is a portmanteau word to indicate the variety of life at all levels from genes to ecosystems, but it is often simplistically equated to species richness; the word ecodiversity has thus been coined to address habitat variety. Biodiversity represents the core of the natural capital, and as such needs to be quantified and followed over ti...
Article
Full-text available
Biodiversity is a portmanteau word to indicate the variety of life at all levels from genes to ecosystems, but it is often simplistically equated to species richness; the word ecodiversity has thus been coined to address habitat variety. Biodiversity represents the core of the natural capital, and as such needs to be quantified and followed over ti...
Article
Full-text available
Biotic indices are major tools recommended by the European Directives for assessing the ecological status of marine coastal ecosystems such as Posidonia oceanica meadows. Nevertheless, the multitude of available metrics commonly adopted in the P. oceanica monitoring often provide diverging responses about the health status of the habitat. In this s...
Article
Full-text available
Posidonia oceanica is an endemic Mediterranean seagrass used as a ‘biological quality element’ in monitoring programmes of the EU Water Framework Directive, providing information about coastal ecosystems status. The regression of P. oceanica meadows caused a growing interest among policy makers to assess the value of seagrasses and to increase thei...
Article
The Mediterranean Sea supports high levels of biodiversity and complexity but is facing increasing human pressures, so that strategies to protect and recover its ecosystems must be a priority in environmental policies. Benthic cartography represents the first step of marine spatial planning for the proper management and protection of our sea. Univo...
Article
Full-text available
This paper aims at collating and reviewing all data collected using the ESCA (Ecological Status of Coralligenous Assemblages) index from 2009 to 2018 during different local applications, in order to evaluate at large spatial scale its effectiveness and temporal variability. To this scope, the large-scale response of ESCA to anthropogenic disturbanc...
Article
• Detailed knowledge about the distribution of species in need of protection is required for the management of Marine Protected Areas, a major tool to reduce marine biodiversity loss. Such knowledge is deficient for most marine invertebrates. • Axinella polypoides is a marine sponge included on the list of protected species by the Barcelona Convent...
Article
Full-text available
Building trust in science and evidence-based decision-making depends heavily on the credibility of studies and their findings. Researchers employ many different study designs that vary in their risk of bias to evaluate the true effect of interventions or impacts. Here, we empirically quantify, on a large scale, the prevalence of different study des...
Article
Using the Conservation Index, which measures the proportional amount of dead matte relative to live Posidonia oceanica, we assessed the health of 15 P. oceanica meadows at a regional scale along the coast of Liguria (NW Mediterranean). These areas were characterized by different degrees of anthropization, from highly urbanized sites to marine prote...
Article
Extreme environmental events can strongly affect coastal marine ecosystems but are typically unpredictable. Reliable data on benthic community conditions before such events are rarely available, making it difficult to measure their effects. At the end of October 2018, a severe storm hit the Ligurian coast (NW Mediterranean) producing damages to coa...
Article
Extreme environmental events can strongly affect coastal marine ecosystems but are typically unpredictable. Reliable data on benthic community conditions before such events are rarely available, making it difficult to measure their effects. At the end of October 2018, a severe storm hit the Ligurian coast (NW Mediterranean) producing damages to coa...
Article
Making nature's value visible to humans is a key issue for the XXI century and it is crucial to identify and measure natural capital to incorporate benefits or costs of changes in ecosystem services into policy. Emergy analysis, a method able to analyze the overall functioning of a system, was applied to reckon the value of main ecosystem services...
Article
Full-text available
Two severe heat waves triggered coral bleaching and mass mortality in the Maldives in 1998 and 2016. Analysis of live coral cover data from 1997 to 2019 in shallow (5 m depth) reefs of the Maldives showed that the 1998 heat wave caused more than 90% of coral mortality leaving only 6.8 ± 0.3% of survived corals in all the shallow reefs investigated....
Article
Two severe heat waves triggered coral bleaching and mass mortality in the Maldives in 1998 and 2016. Analysis of live coral cover data from 1997 to 2019 in shallow (5 m depth) reefs of the Maldives showed that the 1998 heat wave caused more than 90% of coral mortality leaving only 6.8 ± 0.3% of survived corals in all the shallow reefs investigated....
Article
Marine coastal ecosystems are facing structural and functional changes due to the increasing human footprint worldwide, and the assessment of their long-term changes becomes particularly challenging. Measures of change can be done by comparing the observed ecosystem status to a purposely defined reference condition. In this paper, a geospatial mode...
Article
Full-text available
Good datasets of geo-referenced records of alien species are a prerequisite for assessing the spatio-temporal dynamics of biological invasions, their invasive potential, and the magnitude of their impacts. However, with the exception of first records on a country level or wider regions, observations of species presence tend to remain unpublished, b...
Method
Full-text available
European legislation requires the development of monitoring and assessment plans based on standardized methods, in order to allow the comparability of results on a wide spatial and time scale. These plans must also be based on the best available technical-scientific knowledge, which evolution is considered a fundamental basis for the periodic updat...
Article
The study aimed at contributing to the knowledge of alternative stable states by evaluating the differences of mobile and sessile macro-zoobenthic assemblages between sea urchin barrens and macroalgal forests in coastal Mediterranean systems considering a large spatial scale. Six sites (100 s km apart) were selected: Croatia, Montenegro, Sicily (It...
Article
Anthropogenic pressure on marine ecosystems is affecting water quality and seafloor integrity. Mediterranean seagrass meadows of endemic Posidonia oceanica (Linnaeus) Delile are considered a priority habitat under the European Directive 92/43/CEE, given their ecological and economic importance and being an environmental quality indicator. Availabil...
Article
Full-text available
A rapid temperature increase in the 1980-90s has been accompanied by dramatic and unprecedented changes in the biota and communities of the Ligurian Sea. This review uses existing historical series (a few of which have been purposely updated) to assess extent and consequences of such changes. A number of warm-water species, previously absent or occ...
Article
Full-text available
Anthropogenic climate change, and global warming in particular, has strong and increasing impacts on marine ecosystems (Poloczanska et al., 2013; Halpern et al., 2015; Smale et al., 2019). The Mediterranean Sea is considered a marine biodiversity hotspot contributing to more than 7% of world’s marine biodiversity including a high percentage of ende...
Article
Seawater warming is impacting marine ecosystems, but proper evaluation of change requires the availability of long-term biological data series. Mesco Reef (Ligurian Sea, Italy) offers one of the longest Mediterranean data series on sessile epibenthic communities, based on underwater photographic surveys. Photographs taken in four stations between 2...
Conference Paper
The global increase in seawater temperature is causing irreparable damages to coral reefs all over the world. Frequency of coral bleaching episodes and mass mortality is increasing and coral reefs have not enough time to recover after these impacts. The present study concerns this phenomenon in the context of the Maldives. In this scenario, monitor...
Article
Full-text available
Biotic homogenization is an expected effect of biological invasions. Invasive alien species typically show great adaptability to a wide range of environmental conditions and may expand into different habitats, thus reducing the dissimilarity among the recipient communities. We tested this assumption by analyzing a comprehensive database (78 species...
Article
Full-text available
Seagrass meadows, key ecosystems supporting fisheries, carbon sequestration and coastal protection, are globally threatened. In Europe, loss and recovery of seagrasses are reported, but the changes in extent and density at the continental scale remain unclear. Here we collate assessments of changes from 1869 to 2016 and show that 1/3 of European se...
Article
Temperate mesophotic reefs (circalittoral and offshore circalittoral hard/firm habitats), host complex three-dimensional animal forests and are vulnerable habitats protected by international agreements. In order to evaluate and monitor the environmental status of these ecosystems, the multi-parametric index Mesophotic Assemblages Conservation Statu...
Article
Marine caves are unique and vulnerable habitats exhibiting high biodiversity and heterogeneity, but threatened by multiple global and local disturbances. Marine caves, although widely distributed along the Mediterranean coast, suffer for the lack of quantitative data on their structure and function, which hinder their conservation status assessment...
Article
• Coralligenous reefs represent one of the most important coastal ecosystems of the Mediterranean Sea, and their ecological quality must be assessed under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive to evaluate seafloor integrity. An effective standardized monitoring protocol is urgently needed in order to compare data at the Mediterranean scale and to...
Article
Full-text available
Stylasterids belong to one of the few calcifying hydroid families that are commonly found in shallow tropical coral reefs. Although these corals are accurately described from a taxonomic point of view, information about their ecology is scarce. Distichopora violacea is one of the most common stylasterids of the Indo-Pacific region; however, no info...
Article
Coralligenous is one of the most important habitats in the Mediterranean Sea and evaluating its state of health through analysis of long series of historical data is of primary concern. Historical data allow understanding change experienced by ecosystems over time under the influence of different pressures, such as climate change and anthropogenic...
Article
Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile is an ideal biological indicator to define environmental quality. Due to the high urbanization of the coast, the P. oceanica meadows of Liguria are in decline. We assessed the health status of 13 P. oceanica meadows using ecological descriptors at different complexity levels (i.e. species, population, community, and s...
Article
The methods used to study shallow coralligenous reefs are reviewed to select a unified procedure able to optimize sampling effort, to select the most effective ecological descriptors to evaluate the responses of coralligenous assemblages to anthropogenic pressures and to synthesize available information in an integrated and standardized procedure n...
Article
Shallow hydrothermal vents emit warm water, carbon dioxide, toxic chemicals, nutrients and reduced compounds that altogether mimic climate and human impacts, and are therefore considered as 'natural laboratories' at which can be investigated the effects of these stressors on marine ecosystems. One of the effects more thoroughly investigated is the...
Article
Marine coastal ecosystems are facing structural and functional changes due to the increasing human footprint worldwide, and the assessment of their long-term changes becomes particularly challenging. Measures of change can be done by comparing the observed ecosystem status to a purposely defined reference condition. In this paper, a geospatial mode...
Article
Marine caves are unique and vulnerable habitats exhibiting high biodiversity and heterogeneity, but threatened by multiple global and local disturbances. Marine caves, although widely distributed along the Mediterranean coast, suffer for the lack of quantitative data on their structure and function, which hinder their conservation status assessment...
Article
Global climate change has increased the frequency and intensity of extreme heat anomalies and consequent mass coral bleaching events. Long term dynamics of hard coral cover, bioconstruction potential, carbonate deposition, and reef accretion were monitored over a 20‐year period on Maldivian coral reefs in order to investigate the effects of high‐te...
Article
Full-text available
Connectivity studies in the marine realm are of great importance to understand the evolutionary potential of populations in a context of growing pressures on the marine environment. Here, we investigated the effect of the local, regional, and depth spatial scale on the population genetic structure of the yellow gorgonian Eunicella cavolini, one of...
Article
• Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are a major tool to conserve marine ecosystems but are also strongly attractive to tourists, the increased numbers of which can cause environmental issues if not properly managed. • Proposing an MPA and then failing to establish it risks advertising the beauty of a marine area without managing the unavoidable increas...
Article
In the Mediterranean Sea, Cystoseira species are the most important canopy-forming algae in shallow rocky bottoms, hosting high biodiverse sessile and mobile communities. A large-scale study has been carried out to investigate the structure of the Cystoseira-dominated assemblages at different spatial scales and to test the hypotheses that alpha and...
Article
1. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are a major tool to conserve marine ecosystems but are also strongly attractive to tourists, the increased numbers of which can cause environmental issues if not properly managed. 2. Proposing an MPA and then failing to establish it risks advertising the beauty of a marine area without managing the unavoidable incre...
Chapter
Resilience is the ability of the ecosystem to recover after a perturbation. Assessing the resilience of marine ecosystems in the face of the increasing disturbance regime has become a major concern for their conservation. Among marine ecosystems, animal forests are expectedly little resilient. Their recovery may take long, increasing the risk of hy...
Chapter
Marine animal forests supply several services based on a multiplicity of ecological functions, thus generating a set of benefits to humans. Services have been studied in coral reefs, whereas less is known about the role of other animal forests. Actual estimates of economic value of the ecosystem services provided by reefs highlighted their ability...