In marine habitats benthic assemblages are known to give site specific answer following natural or induced disturbances. Changes in composition and structure of benthic communities mirroring those disturbances might allow to detect their extend and effects on marine environments. For all these reasons the study of benthic assemblages might be considered an essential tool in environmental impact assessment.

At CIBM is present an high degree of expertise in the drawing of experimental designs as well as statistical data analysis that is mandatory to exhaustively detect and quantify environmental impacts in marine habitats. Moreover CIBM researchers have the required proficiency in the taxonomical identification and a good understanding of the ecological characteristics of benthic species that is needed in this kind of studies.

Furthermore CIBM is active in the field of Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile health status and conservation studies. This plant is widespread in the Mediterranean Sea and being very sensitive to environmental changes in marine environments it is considered an important tool for the quality evaluation of water bodies. Nowadays this plant is protected, included in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and a priority habitat in the habitat directive (Dir. n. 92/43/CEE), and hence might be considered an important environmental quality indicator.

CIBM has a certified scientific divers team recognized by the AIOSS (Italian Association of Scientific Divers © ) and by the ESDP (European Scientific Divers Panel © ). The research divers are experts in fish visual census as well as benthic assemblages studies and marine plants distribution mapping.

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