BioMarineLab - Ecological laboratory for microcosm / mesocosm experiments

Facility Location
City & country
Santa Croce (Italy)
Description & contacts of the access provider
Legal name of organisation
OGS - Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale
Infrastructure contact - Primary contact
Cinzia De Vittor
RICC contact - Secondary contact
Michela Vellico
Facility Availability
Unit of access
Availability per year
Minimum 10 days
Expected duration of single experiment:
5-10 Days

The OCE Division of OGS offers a wide range of laboratories and technical and scientific facilities. This installation is equipped for studies in the marine biology field concerning biogeochemical analysis of sediments and overlayer water, characterization of plankton community from prokaryotes to zooplankton, characterization of benthic community from prokaryotes to macrobenthos, identification of the role of biological activities in the release (community respiration processes) or in the uptake (photosynthetic processes of phytoplankton and microphytobenthos) of CO2 in the water column and at the sediment-water interface, evaluation of microbial activities variation as consequence of CO2 concentration changes, determination of prokaryotic community structure, toxicological and physiological responses of invertebrates. The installation is complemented by equipment for measurements of physical parameters in the water column (CTD probe, Profiling Natural Fluorometer, etc), for samples collection (e.g rosette, boxcorer, plankton net, grab, etc), and with dark and transparent benthic chambers useful to perform in situ benthic flux measurements and to assess the potential importance of sediment-water nutrients exchanges for respiration and production processes. The equipment and expertise in the installation allow the determination of the main parameters necessary to describe both the carbonate system and the organic carbon cycle in order to fully characterize marine sites in terms of leakage detection and quantification. This installation may be considered “unique” due to its proximity to the sea, the availability of running seawater and the existing collection of planktonic organisms. The availability of thermostatic chambers equipped with aquaria and photobioreactors allows to perform ecological and ecophysiological studies under controlled conditions (light, temperature, pH, salinity and pCO2), in order to estimate the immediate and long term effects of CO2 exposure on organisms and communities.

The BIOMARINE LAB infrastructure
Pictures of experimentations with different photobioreactors testing pCO2 effects on calcareous microalgae
Pictures of experimentations with different photobioreactors testing pCO2 effects on calcareous microalgae
State of the art, uniqueness, & specific advantages

The installation has been and is actually used within national and EC-funded research and demonstration projects in the fields of Energy, Environment and Marine Sciences, in the framework of CO2GeoNet Network of Excellence and in other CO2 related projects as RISCS (Research into Impacts and Safety in CO2 Storage -, ECO2 (Sub-seabed CO2 Storage: Impact on Marine Ecosystems - http://www.eco2-, MEDSEA (Mediterranean Sea Acidification in a changing climate -, EUROFLEETS (Towards an alliance of European research fleets -, CO2Monitor (Development of innovative techniques to monitor CO2 storage geological sites - National). Recently, the installation has been used for defining the base-line in the off-shore area considered for the Porto Tolle CO2 storage demonstration project (in Northern Adriatic).

Scientific Environment

The BIOMARINE LAB installation is located in the Gulf of Trieste - Northern Adriatic Sea - Italy. All analytical activities carried out in the Microbiological, Ecology, Primary Productivity and Biogeochemistry Laboratories are offered by this installation. The technical and logistic support offered to users will be guaranteed both inside the laboratories and during field activities.


EC DG Research - FP6 & 7
Other EC DG Research
Other Large Initiatives
Other Large Initiatives
Other Large Initiatives

selected publications

Ingrosso G., Giani G., Comici C., Kralj M., Piacentino S., De Vittor C., Del Negro P. (2015)
Drivers of the carbonate system seasonal variation in a Mediterranean gulf
Estuarine Coastal Shelf Science,, in press
Jones D.G., Beaubien S.E., Blackford J.C., Foekema E.M., Lions J., De Vittor C., West J.M., Widdicombe S., Hauton C., Queirós A.M. (2015)
Developments since 2005 in understanding potential environmental impacts of CO2 leakage from geological storage
International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control 40: 350–377 DOI: 10.1016/j.ijggc.2015.05.032
Beaubien S.E., De Vittor C., Mcginnis D.F., Bigi S., Comici C., Ingrosso G., Lombardi S., Ruggiero L. (2014)
Preliminary experiments and modelling of the fate of CO2 bubbles in the water column near Panarea Island (Italy)
Energy Procedia 59: 397-403
Karuza A., Celussi M., Cibic T., Del Negro P., De Vittor C. (2012)
Virioplankton and bacterioplankton in a shallow CO2-dominated hydrothermal vent (Panarea island, Tyrrhenian sea)
Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 97:10-18
Franzo A., Celussi M., Cibic T., Del Negro P., De Vittor C. (2011)
Effects of CO2 Induced pH Decrease on Shallow Benthic Microbial Communities
EAGE/SEG Research Workshop 2011 Towards a Full Integration from Geosciences to Reservoir Simulation 29-31 August 2011, Trieste, Italy: 11276.
Larato C., Celussi M., Virgilio D., Karuza A., Falconi C., De Vittor C., Del Negro P., Fonda Umani S. (2010)
Production and utilization of organic matter in different P-availability conditions: A mesocosm experiment in the northern Adriatic sea
J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 391(1-2):131-142