PhD program in
  Environmental Sciences
Coordinated by Prof. Giuseppe Corriero

Deep-sea species, communities, and ecosystems

  G. D'Onghia, A. Tursi, P. Maiorano, L. Sion, F. Mastrototaro

This theme has been developed in the context of the National and International research. The life strategies of deep-water benthic and benthopelagic species (fish, crustaceans and cephalopods) as well as community structure and biodiversity in the deep sea were investigated. Explorations down to 4000 m in depth were carried out in the Mediterranean Sea. The team co-edited and co-authored the volume “Mediterranean deep-sea biology” published by Scientia Marina ( As part of the 7 FP-EU CORALFISH project ( the team investigates on the biodiversity of the coral habitat in the Ionian Sea and on the interactions between corals, biological resources and fisheries in order to develop monitoring and predictive modelling tools for ecosystem based management in the deep waters. A Marine Environment MOnitoring system (MEMO) for video inspection of benthic habitat and benthopelagic fauna has been recently developed. The system is equipped with cameras, CTD and currentmeter. It is modular and, thus, it can be implemented with other instruments. On the seabed the lander MEMO is linked by a zinc-coated steel cable to buoys which keep the cable under tension (back up buoys) and then to a surface floating signalling buoy. Continuous connection is maintained via the acoustic modem with an on board PC software platform, making images and sensor data available. The MEMO lander can work down to 1200 m in depth for 48 consecutive hours.

Published papers (selection) (click to download the pdf)

Mastrototaro F., D’Onghia G., Corriero G., Matarrese A., Maiorano P., Panetta P., Gherardi M., Longo C., Rosso A., Sciuto F., Sanfilippo R., Gravili C., Boero F., Taviani M., Tursi A., 2010. Biodiversity of the white coral bank off Cape Santa Maria di Leuca (Mediterranean Sea): An update. Deep-Sea Research II, 57: 412-430.

D’Onghia G., Maiorano P., Sion L., Giove A., Capezzuto F., Carlucci R., Tursi A., 2010. Effects of deep-water coral banks on the abundance and size structure of the megafauna in the Mediterranean Sea. Deep-Sea Research II, 57: 397-411.

Capezzuto F., Carlucci R., Maiorano P., Sion L., Battista D., Giove A., Indennidate A., Tursi A., D’Onghia G., 2010. The bathyal benthopelagic fauna in the north-western Ionian Sea: structure, patterns and interactions. Chemistry and Ecology, 26 (suppl.): 199-217.

D’Onghia G., Sion L., Maiorano P., Mytilineou Ch., Dalessandro S., Carlucci R., Desantis S., 2006. Population biology and life strategies of Chlorophthalmus agassizii Bonaparte, 1840 (Pisces: Osteichthyes) in the eastern-central Mediterranean Sea. Marine Biology, 149: 435-446.

Tursi A., Mastrototaro F., Matarrese A., Maiorano P., D’Onghia G., 2004. Biodiversity of the white coral reefs in the Ionian Sea (Central Mediterranean). Chemistry and Ecology, 20 (Suppl. 1): 107-116.

D’Onghia G., Tursi A., Marano C. A., Basanisi M., 1998. Life history traits of Hoplostethus mediterraneus (Pisces: Berycomorphi) from the north-western Ionian Sea (Mediterranean Sea). Jour. Mar. Biol. Ass. U.K. , 78: 321-339.

D’Onghia G., Basanisi M., Tursi A., 2000. Population structure, age and growth of macrourid fish from the upper slope of the Eastern-Central Mediterranean. Jour. Fish Biol., 56 (5): 1217-1238.

D’Onghia G., Basanisi M., Matarrese A., Megli F., 1999. Reproductive strategy of macrourid fish: seasonality or not? Marine Ecology Progress Series, 184: 189-196.

Maiorano P., D’Onghia G., Capezzuto F., Sion L., 2002. Life-history traits of Plesionika martia (Decapoda: Caridea) from the Eastern-Central Mediterranean Sea. Marine Biology. 141: 527-539.

Maiorano P., Pastore M., D’Onghia G., Latorre F., 1998. Note on the population structure and reproduction of Polycheles typhlops (Heller, 1862) (Decapoda: Polychelidae) on the upper slope of the Ionian Sea. Jour. Nat. Hist., 32: 1609-1618.

Sarda' F., D’Onghia G., Politou C.-Y-, Tselepides A. (eds.), 2004. Mediterranean deep-sea biology. Scientia Marina, Vol. 68 (Suppl. 3): 204 pp.