Integrated European
Long-Term Ecosystem, critical zone and
socio-ecological Research

Enhancing the knowledge of benthic communities in the Mar Piccolo of Taranto, Italy

25 May 2022

Last autumn, a project started on "Monitoring of the conservation status of the Mar Piccolo of Taranto, with particular reference to the presence of marine phanerogams and non-indigenous species". It was funded by the Apulia Region within the framework of POR-Puglia 2014-2020, aiming to select monitoring actions on Apulian species and habitat of the Natura 2000 network.

During the next two years, up to December 2023, mapping of marine phanerogams (i.e. Cymodocea nodosa and Ruppia cirrhosa) will be carried out and their life cycles will be monitored using innovative remote sensing, seasonal field observations and laboratory measurements. The main objectives of this task will be the assessment of the phanerogam extension in the Mar Piccolo, as well as of their phenology, in order to verify the presence of sexual reproduction (i.e. production of flowers and fruits) and certify healthy populations.

Monitoring of non-indigenous animal and plant species is also planned, aiming to secure identification through the use of DNA-barcoding and the detection of new introductions. A second task will monitor the health status of the Pinna nobilis community (a type of Mediterranean clam) in the Mar Piccolo, following a drastic reduction in the last few years due to parasitosis.

Contact person: Antonella Petrocelli -

Mar Piccolo of Taranto - Italy