The course aims to provide the tools to analyze the main relationships between the anthropogenic system and the natural environment, emphasising the exploitation of water resources and the alteration of biogeochemical cycles. Specifically, the course aims to explore the complex relationships linking anthropogenic pressures to environmental impacts on aquatic ecosystems. Particular attention will be paid to vulnerability, sustainable use, and conservation of aquatic resources and the risks of alteration and loss of goods and services provided to society by aquatic ecosystems.
At the end of the course, it is expected that the student can:
1. To know and analyze fundamental topics of general ecology: ecosystem structure and processes, biogeochemical cycles, disturbance, vulnerability and ecosystem responses to pressures, ecosystem services;
2. To comprehend how the functioning of aquatic ecosystems is modified by human activities by assessing qualitative variations and sustainability limits of water use and, more generally, of the hydrographic network;
3. To identify and analyze, at least in a general way, environmental problems related to the misuse and/or over-exploitation of water resources;
4. To evaluate the risk of anthropogenic impact on aquatic ecosystems by individuating and quantifying indicators of pressure;
5. To propose solutions for the prevention of impacts, protecting and restoring aquatic ecosystems and their resources, with the so-called nature-based solutions.