Marzia Bo's research while affiliated with Università degli Studi di Genova and other places

Publications (179)

Article
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During the last decades, the number of observations of the basket star Astrospartus mediterraneus (Risso, 1826) in the Mediterranean Sea has significantly grown, thanks to SCUBA diver and ROV sightings, citizen reports, as well as particularly large catches by the artisanal fishery. Having been generally considered rare in many areas of the basin,...
Article
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The occurrence, relative abundance and bathymetric distribution of the deep Mediterranean heterobranch fauna were evaluated as a result of an extensive visual census down to 1825 m depth, carried out along the western Italian coasts, covering a latitudinal range of about 600 nautical miles. Observations were conducted using Remotely Operated Vehicl...
Article
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The by-the-wind sailor Velella velella is a cosmopolitan, pleustonic colonial hydrozoan, common in the Mediterranean Sea. It forms offshore aggregations that occasionally strand on the coasts, following strong wind conditions. Colonies are frequently discovered around Janthina pallida Janthina pallida, a pleustonic gastropod that feeds on them and...
Article
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The precious coral Corallium rubrum (Linnaeus, 1758) is a charismatic Mediterranean species. A recent large-scale investigation along the Italian coast highlighted its widespread occurrence at mesophotic and upper bathyal depths, especially on coralligenous and bathyal vertical hardgrounds. The lack of morphometric data limited the considerations o...
Article
Dense associations of vertical trace fossils are typically used as a proxy for nearshore palaeoenvironments. Here we challenge this assumption by reporting dense associations of vertical tubes occupying vast areas of the deep shelf off Liguria (Italy) at depths ranging from 56 to 85 m. The tubes, produced by the suspension-feeding sabellid Bispira...
Article
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Biodiversity is a broad concept that encompasses the diversity of nature, from the genetic to the habitat scale, and ensures the proper functioning of ecosystems. The Mediterranean Sea, one of the world's most biodiverse basins, faces major threats, such as overexploitation of resources and climate change. Here we provide the first multi-taxa inven...
Article
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The analysis of 879 ROV dives carried out along the Italian coasts on hard substrata at mesophotic and upper bathyal depths (40-775 m) allowed us to evaluate the current basin-scale presence, relative abundance, bathymetric limits, and habitat preferences of one of the most charismatic Mediterranean habitat-former anthozoan species, Corallium rubru...
Conference Paper
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Mediterranean echinoderms currently account for 154 species, many of which have been widely studied in coastal ecosystems. Investigations on deep-sea echinoderms, on the contrary, have been challenging in many ways, and very few targeted in situ studies have been carried out so far. Here we took advantage of an extensive ROV survey carried out in t...
Article
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Compared to their fossil counterparts, living brachiopods are investigated far less often, due to their occurrence in remote environments such as dark caves or deep environments. Due to the scarcity of studies targeting in situ brachiopods’ populations, large-scale information on their distribution and ecological preferences is still lacking, espec...
Article
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Among Mediterranean habitat-forming alcyonaceans, the sea fan Eunicella verrucosa is known to form dense forests at circalittoral depths, providing seascape complexity and sustaining a rich associated fauna. Its occurrence in the Tavolara–Punta Coda Cavallo Marine Protected Area (NE Sardinia) has never been deeply investigated despite this area bei...
Article
This study presents a description of Bispira riccardi sp. nov., a new habitat-forming sabellid polychaete from the mesophotic NW Mediterranean Sea. Individuals, up to 20 cm long, show a peculiar morphology of radioles, thoracic uncini, companion chaetae and ventral shield of the collar. The phylogenetic position of this new taxon in the genus Bispi...
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Marine biodiversity underpins ecosystem health and societal well-being. Preservation of biodiversity hotspots is a global challenge. Molecular tools, like DNA barcoding and metabarcoding, hold great potential for biodiversity monitoring, possibly outperforming more traditional taxonomic methods. However, metabarcoding-based biodiversity assessments...
Article
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Chilean Patagonia hosts one of the extensive fjord systems in the world, spanning more than 1,600 km between 41 and 55°S, and with a complex geomorphology and hydrography that supports rich and unique assemblages of marine fauna. The biodiversity of benthic organisms is possibly further enhanced by the geographic position of the region that extends...
Article
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Antipathella subpinnata (Ellis and Solander 1786) is one of the most frequently observed black corals at mesophotic depths (60–200 m) of the Mediterranean Sea, particularly in the northwestern part of the basin, where its populations can reach high densities and create forest-like aggregations, both along the coast and in offshore locations such as...
Article
Two new genera and two new species of black corals are recognized in the family Aphanipathidae. The new genus Anozopathes, with the species A. hawaiiensis sp. nov. and A. palauensis, sp. nov. is characterized by a sparsely and irregularly branched corallum with relatively long branches which can be straight, curved or crooked. The genus Aphanostich...
Article
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In 2015, the Strait of Sicily, which includes several banks, was candidate as a future Specially Protected Area of Mediterranean Importance (SPAMI) by the Contracting Parties of the Barcelona Convention. In this context, the present study aims to provide the first biological and ecological characterisation of this poorly known area, focusing on hab...
Article
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The Mediterranean red coral, Corallium rubrum (L.), has been a valuable economic resource for more than 2000 years. The Sicily Channel and surrounding areas are one of the most famous red coral fishing grounds of the whole region, hosting the deepest ever found living colonies and large sub-fossil red coral deposits; the so-called Sciacca banks are...
Article
• Dendrophyllia ramea is a poorly known arborescent scleractinian coral, whose worldwide distribution is limited to the southern part of the Mediterranean basin, and to the Atlantic Ocean between Macaronesia and Gulf of Cadiz. The geographical distribution and abundance of D. ramea were herein updated, considering a total of 19 records, seven of wh...
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
ALDFGs (abandoned, lost or otherwise discharged fishing gears) represent a major pollutant in the world’s oceans, including the Mediterranean Sea, but very little is known about their long-term fate in the underwater environment. Here we investigate the destiny of ALDFGs in a coralligenous benthic community by studying the biofouling growing on the...
Article
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Cnidarians are known to undergo reverse development as a survival mechanism against adverse environmental conditions. Polyp bail-out consists in the polyps' detachment from the mother colony due to stressful conditions, followed by a complete tissue and cells rearrangement and in some cases in a regression into a simple, ciliated form. Here we desc...
Article
Differently from the North Atlantic Ocean, only few examples of sponge grounds are known from the Mediterranean Sea, mainly thriving in the deep sea. In this study, a novel temperate mesophotic ecosystem dominated by massive keratose sponges is reported from the Ligurian deep continental shelf. An extensive Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) survey al...
Article
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This Collective Article presents information about 21 taxa belonging to seven Phyla (one Ochrophyta, one Porifera, three Cni-daria, two Arthropoda, three Mollusca, one Echinodermata, and ten Chordata) and extending from the western Mediterranean Sea to the Levantine Sea. The new records were reported from nine countries as follows: Spain: first rec...
Article
• Seamounts host some of the most important deep‐sea ecosystems. The unique environmental characteristics of seamounts sustain rich biological hot spots, which, in recent times, have suffered the effects of intense fishing pressure. • Biodiversity and vulnerability data are extremely scarce for Mediterranean seamounts, and this, in addition to the...
Article
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Black corals are important habitat-forming species in the mesophotic and deep-sea zones of the world’s oceans because of their arborescent colony structure and tendency to form animal forests. Although we have started unravelling the ecology of mesophotic black corals, the importance of the associated microbes to their health has remained unexplore...
Book
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Antipatharians, also known as black corals, represent a small group of anthozoan hexacorallians found in all oceans of the world. They are generally considered a deep-water taxon; however, some of the most diverse communities are known from tropical shallow waters. With a few poorly detailed exceptions, shallow-water black corals from the Indian Oc...
Article
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The development of novel and effective methods for the isolation of chitin, which remains one of the fundamental aminopolysaccharides within skeletal structures of diverse marine invertebrates, is still relevant. In contrast to numerous studies on chitin extraction from crustaceans, mollusks and sponges, there are only a few reports concerning its...
Article
The gorgonians Paramuricea clavata (Risso, 1826) and Eunicella cavolini (Koch, 1887) are important habitat-forming species within the Mediterranean coralligenous habitats, creating complex, three-dimensional forests that greatly contribute to the underwater landscape of the coastal hard grounds. Dense forests of both species are present within the...
Article
Exceptional meteo-marine events, such as storms, may have profound effects on the structure of benthic communities, yet their consequences on these ecosystems in the Mediterranean basin are still poorly known, mainly due to the unpredictability of such phenomena as well as the general lack of comparative datasets. The highly destructive storm of fa...
Article
Litter has become a common component of marine ecosystems, and its assessment and monitoring are now of primary interest. Here, we characterized seafloor litter in the mesophotic depth range of the Ligurian Sea, one of the most urbanized basins of the Mediterranean Sea. Eighty sites (30–220 m depth) were investigated by by means of ROV video transe...
Article
Trophic relationships significantly influence ecosystem functioning, ultimately affecting populations’ abundance, size structure and distribution. There is still a substantial knowledge gap on the trophic ecology of deep-sea organisms, particularly those living in the mesophotic depths (30–150 m), despite their crucial importance as ecosystem engin...
Article
Seamounts represent ecologically important marine environments and undeniably play a crucial role in the functioning of the deep-sea ecosystems, thanks primarily to their contribution in supporting offshore benthic and pelagic biodiversity. In the last decades, these features have received attention in all oceans of the world, but they were relativ...
Article
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Abstract Spiculosiphon oceana Maldonado, López-Acosta, Sitjà, Aguilar, García & Vacelet, 2013 is a Mediterranean endemic giant stalked foraminifer described as a potential bio-indicator of acidic environments, thanks to its ability to cope with stressful chemical conditions. Here, we present the first record and the first video images of living spe...
Article
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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
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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
The three-dimensional coral scaffolds formed by the skeletons of the cold-water corals Madrepora oculata and Lophelia pertusa represent an important deep-sea hard substratum and create an optimal shelter for a rich associated fauna in which the contribution of Porifera has still not been fully considered. The taxonomic analysis of sponges collected...
Article
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Settlement, recruitment and survival of sessile marine species are driven by many biotic and abiotic factors. Among them, substrate mineral composition is generally a neglected topic, despite it proved to be a relevant contributing variable in driving the structure of benthic communities. Thanks to their ecology, Chthamalus species are a good proxy...
Article
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The Ligurian Sea is one of the most studied Mediterranean basins. Since the beginning of the last century, many research expeditions have characterized its benthic and pelagic fauna through scuba diving and trawl surveys. However, a large knowledge gap exists about the composition of benthic communities extending into the so-called mesophotic or tw...
Article
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Velella velella, the so-called by-the-wind sailor, is a common member of the open-ocean pleustonic fauna, worldwide distributed in tropical and temperate regions. Thanks to their sail protruding above the sea surface, floating polymorphic colonies of this hydrozoan are carried by winds, and tend to aggregate in large swarms, that often get stranded...
Book
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This identification guide has been developed to support the monitoring of bycatch of vulnerable species in Mediterranean fisheries. The work has been produced within the context of the project “Understanding Mediterranean multi-taxa ‘bycatch’ of vulnerable species and testing mitigation– a collaborative approach” funded by MAVA Foundation through a...
Article
Biodiversity of coral forests and occurrence of Derelict Fishing Gears (DFGs) have been assessed in canyon systems of the western Ligurian Sea (Dramont, Monaco, Bordighera, Arma di Taggia and Bergeggi) exposed to different anthropic pressures. Arborescent cnidarians were elected as representative species due to their role as structuring organisms a...
Article
The main aims of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are the conservation of natural habitats and their biological resources, together with the promotion of an eco-compatible economic fruition. In Mediterranean MPAs, the main threats for hard bottom benthic communities come from fishing and mass tourism, in terms of boating and SCUBA diving. The Portofin...
Article
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The close relationship between a polyclad (Platyhelminthes, Rhabditophora, Polycladida) and the mesophotic Atlantic–Mediterranean black coral Antipathella subpinnata (Ellis & Solander, 1786) (Cnidaria, Hexacorallia, Antipatharia) is herein described for the first time. Worms, up to 50 mm long, are elongated with sparse dorsal papillae, an anterior,...
Article
The distribution of floating litter in marine waters, influenced by currents and wind drag, often determines the dispersal of its encrusting fauna. In the present paper, we observed for the first time the colonization of rafting floats from abandoned, lost or derelict fishing gears (ALDFG) by the four protected deep-sea species: Errina aspera, Desm...
Chapter
Remotely operated vehicle (ROV) investigations of the Mediterranean deep continental shelf and bathyal zone have provided, in the last decade, a large amount of data concerning an enigmatic group of anthozoans: the black corals. Taxonomic investigations as well as ecological and biological studies contributed to unveil the diversity, population str...
Chapter
The term cold-water coral sensu lato groups taxa with a more or less pronounced frame-building ability (e.g. Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata) with forest-forming organisms both on hard (e.g. Leiopathes glaberrima, Parantipathes larix, Callogorgia verticillata and Viminella flagellum) and soft bottoms (e.g. Isidella elongata, Funiculina quadr...
Chapter
Knowledge on basic biological functions of organisms is essential to understand not only the role they play in the ecosystems but also to manage and protect their populations. The study of biological processes, such as growth, reproduction and physiology, which can be approached in situ or by collecting specimens and rearing them in aquaria, is par...
Chapter
Coral gardens are increasingly being reported at 40–200 m depth in the Mediterranean Sea. These coral assemblages are composed of gorgonians from shallow coastal rocky bottoms extending their distribution to deeper areas, as well as by gorgonians and black corals with distribution restricted to the continental shelf and upper slope. Gorgonians and...
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
Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (VMEs) are characterized by prominent biological features susceptible to anthropogenic disturbances. Following international guidelines, the identification and protection of VMEs require a detailed documentation regarding both the community structure and the fishing footprint in the area. This combined information is la...
Article
The presence of fjords, islands and channels originating from glacial erosion and ice cap retreat, makes the Chilean benthic biodiversity difficult to explore and study. Our survey of this region allowed the identification of 29 Demospongiae species in total. Two of them are new to science and here described: Biemna lutea sp. nov., and Hamigera cle...
Chapter
About 63% of the known antipatharian genera occur at mesophotic depths (30–150 m), with the majority extending into the deep sea. Along the continental shelf and offshore sites, antipatharians tend to increase in diversity and abundance with depth, reaching a peak at mesophotic depths due to favorable environmental factors enhancing their settlemen...
Article
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1. Cold-water coral (CWC) ecosystems are protected both in national and international waters. They are considered Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems and, in addition, meet the criteria to be defined ecological or biological significant areas. 2. Two new sites of the “Sardinian cold-water coral province” were discovered by means of ROV surveys in two sub...
Conference Paper
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Cold-water corals (CWCs) are among the main habitat formers of the deep Mediterranean Sea, hosting a lush diversity of species and playing a crucial ecological role. The term CWC sensu lato groups taxa of cnidarians with a more or less pronounced frame-building ability with forest-forming organisms both on hard and soft bottoms. CWC species and the...
Article
Cnidarians are known for their simple body plan and their complex life cycles, involving high regenerative and asexual-reproduction potential. In particular, several asexual reproductive strategies are known for anthozoans, including fragmentation, carried out by tentacles, by groups of polyps or by portions of colonies. Here, we report the first o...
Article
The predatory activity of the asteroid Peltaster placenta (Müller and Troschel, 1842) on the black coral Parantipathes larix (Esper, 1790) is here described for the first time based on video footage obtained during a Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle (ROV) survey conducted in the Pontine Archipelago (Southern Tyrrhenian Sea, Mediterranean Sea)....
Article
Marine bioconstructions are biodiversity-rich, three-dimensional biogenic structures, regulating key ecological functions of benthic ecosystems worldwide. Tropical coral reefs are outstanding for their beauty, diversity and complexity, but analogous types of bioconstructions are also present in temperate seas. The main bioconstructions in the Medit...
Article
• Despite the pluri‐decennial history of bottom trawling monitoring in the Italian Sea, limited attention has been given to the study of cold water corals (CWCs) present in the bycatch. As a result, trawl samples still hold a great potential to reveal information about deep‐water biodiversity. • The rare Mediterranean CWC species Placogorgia corona...
Chapter
Marine bioconstructions are biodiversity-rich, three-dimensional biogenic structures, regulating key ecological functions of benthic ecosystems worldwide. Tropical coral reefs are outstanding for their beauty, diversity and complexity, but analogous types of bioconstructions are also present in temperate seas. The main bioconstructions in the Medit...
Article
The project “Biodiversity MARE Tricase” aims to research and promote coastal and marine biodiversity at the MARE Outpost (Avamposto MARE), a marine station established in Tricase (Lecce, Italy) in 2015. From March 2016 to September 2017, the first biodiversity inventory of the Tricase coastal area (Ionian Sea) was realized with the aid of citizen s...