PLANKTOLOGY
cod. 05535

Academic year 2023/24
3° year of course - Second semester
Professor
- Valeria ROSSI
Academic discipline
Ecologia (BIO/07)
Field
A scelta dello studente
Type of training activity
Student's choice
52 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit
in ITALIAN

Learning objectives

At the end of the training activity, the student should have acquired basic theoretical and practical knowledge required to study and recognize the main taxa of freshwater zooplankton communities (rotifers, cladocerans, copepods and ostracods). The course also aims to provide the first rudiments of ecotoxicological investigation and multidimensional statistical analysis.

In particular, the student should be able to:
D1. Understanding and understanding the main concepts and methods of statistical analysis for the analysis of biological and environmental data, the structure, adaptations and classification of the main groups of freshwater zooplanktones, the fundamental functions of the living and their interactions at levels of increasing complexity, the relationships between organisms and the environment and between organisms at different levels of biological organization, potential health risks and safety standards for the laboratory of ecology, planktology and ecotoxicology. (Knowledge and understanding).
D2. To use the specific language of ecology, planktology and ecotoxicology. Apply the basic mathematical, statistical and informatics methods for the analysis and processing of information, experimental data on biological systems and phenomena and apply the main techniques of ecological analysis. Understand in English the topics related to ecology and planktology, teamwork (Applying knowledge and understanding)
D3. To evaluate and interpret experimental data. Critically use data from scientific literature. To evaluate the computational and experimental methodologies that allow the optimal resolution of a biological / ecological problem. To evaluate the teaching. (Making judgments)
D4. Exposing the results of biological / ecological studies also to an untrained public even using informatic tools. (Communication skills)
D5. Link the different topics dealt with each other and with the basic and related disciplines. To update by consulting the scientific publications of the ecology of planktology and ecotoxicology. Participate in seminars and training study days. Acquire a methodology of study that allows the continuation of university education. Reach the skills required for inclusion in professional activities at the end of the three-year course. (Learning skills)

Prerequisites

To have passed Ecology examination

Course unit content

What is plankton
The paradox of the plankton
General introduction to freshwater zooplankton

Rotifers: taxonomy and morphology. Distribution, ecology, life cycle. The most common species in Northern Italy.

Copepods: taxonomy and morphology. Distribution, ecology, life cycle. The most common species in Northern Italy.

Cladocerans: taxonomy and morphology. Distribution, ecology, life cycle. The most common species in Northern Italy.

Ostracods: taxonomy and morphology. Distribution, ecology, life cycle. The most common species in Northern Italy.

An outline of marine zooplankton.

Introduction to ecotoxicology

Sampling methods.
Sorting.
Methods in data analysis

Case studies.

Exercises:
WGM computation
LC50 computation
Multivariate statistical analyses by PAST

Full programme

What is plankton
The paradox of the plankton
General introduction to freshwater zooplankton

Rotifers: taxonomy and morphology. Distribution, ecology, life cycle. The most common species in Northern Italy.

Copepods: taxonomy and morphology. Distribution, ecology, life cycle. The most common species in Northern Italy.

Cladocerans: taxonomy and morphology. Distribution, ecology, life cycle. The most common species in Northern Italy.

Ostracods: taxonomy and morphology. Distribution, ecology, life cycle. The most common species in Northern Italy.

An outline of marine zooplankton.

Introduction to ecotoxicology

Sampling methods.
Sorting.
Methods in data analysis

Case studies
1. Distribution and ecology of calanoid species in the Northern Apennines.
2. Succession of cladocerans in a northern Italian ricefield.
3. Ostracoda of the Italian ricefileds thirty years on: new synthesis and hypothesis.

Exercises
WGM calculation
LC50, calculation
Principal Component Analysis
Analysis of zooplankton samples: sorting of cladoceric ostracods and copepods.
Recognition of the main taxa.
Specimen fixation with formalin, dissection and slide preparation.

Bibliography

The use of a textbook is not envisaged. The bibliography will be available on Elly together with the teaching material.

Teaching methods

Frontal lessons with interacts with soliciting comments and questions from the students. During the exercises in the classroom the teacher requires individual or collective collaboration of students in the solution of the questions proposed. Commentary of articles and practice.
Due to the possible continuation of the Covid emergency, the lessons might be delivered in a mixed mode, in presence and remotely (by Teams) in synchronous mode, and possibly with registration available on the Elly platform. To promote active participation in the course, various individual and / or group activities will be proposed through the use of the resources available on Elly.

Assessment methods and criteria

The verification of the achievement of the learning objectives takes place through ongoing checks, in the form of questions posed to the audience of the students during the lesson and the verification, on a sample basis, of the correct execution of exercises to be carried out at home. Students must also describe a case study of their choice by proposing it to the class in ppt format lasting 10 minutes.
The final exam is written. The test, lasting 1 hour, includes 20 open questions, 3 exercises and the recognition of 8 figures. The final grade derives from the sum of the scores obtained for each question (maximum 1 point per question), for each exercise (maximum 3 points per exercise) for each figure (maximum 1 point per figure). The exam results are published on the Esse3 portal within one week from the date of the exam. Students can view the exam by making an appointment with the teacher.
The contribution to the definition of the final grade is calculated as a percentage of: correctness of the acquired knowledge (50%), reasoning and connection skills (30%), communication and synthesis skills (10%), language properties (5%), participation in lessons and exercises (5%).

Other information

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