Roberta Varello has her expertise in recognition of macrofouling organisms of the hard-substrates by means of direct observation and photo analysis. She has built a methodology to study the ecological succession of the coastal communities by developing interactive methods of evaluation of abiotic and biotic parameters on biodiversity. The approach utilizes indexes concerning environmental parameters (salinity, pH, temperature) and indexes for the evaluation of changes in community composition (species richness, coverage area, community structure, biomass, similarity index). She recently obtained a PhD fellowship on a project entitled “Evaluation of effects of new antifouling systems, alternative to organotin compounds, on benthic marine invertebrates at ecosystem, organismal and cellular level".
Geotextile materials that are made from polypropylene, polyester or polyethylene have physical, mechanical and hydraulic properties which are used in coastal protection as an alternative to natural stone, slag, and concrete. In coastal ecosystems, they could reveal different impacts on the biodiversity of resident communities resulting in preventing fouling settlement or favouring dominant species. In the first case, they could represent a new tool as antifouling not-chemical systems alternative to the widely biocide mixtures employed in antifouling paints, since the geotextile fuzzy surface disturb the larva and propagule settlement with continuous micro movements. On the other hand, geotextiles could be used as restoration management of degraded ecosystems by means of their capability to favour the species settlement. In a 10 month experiment, the colonization of macro fouling organisms on four different nonwoven geotextile substrates was investigated in the Lagoon of Venice, Italy - a particular environment of temperate transitional waters with high biodiversity, and compared with the colonization on wood as a natural reference substrate. The ecological succession was analyzed monthly beginning from the biofilm formation to the stable coverage of sessile animal and plant species, with particular attention to changes in community structure compared to control panels. Geotextile fabrics reveal to affect both settlement and growth of the macro fouling depending on their texture and chemical composition: biomass development differed significantly from that of wood. On the geotextiles, the climax of biomass development occurred significantly earlier and reached lower biomass values indicating that nonwoven geotextile substrates support macro fouling communities that display unique properties, such as selected species and low biomass. This pioneering study is a preliminary research that is based on more eco-friendly barriers to the bio fouling settlement will provide insights for future studies of selective capacity on settlement and possible applications in the coastal environment.
Ricardo de Oliveira Orsi is professor at São Paulo State University - UNESP, working with nutrition, pesticides effects and management of the honeybees, using as tool the morphological, proteomic and molecular analysis.
Honey bees are important pollinators of crops and native vegetation, promoting the increase of food production estimated to be worth more than $216 billion annually . However, the managed bee colonies have suffered considerable losses in recent years, and reduced diversity of bees has been observed worldwide [2–4], indicating a threat to food safety and ecosystem maintenance. The syndrome called colony collapse disorder (CCD) was described firstly in the United States, characterized by a rapid loss of worker bees, with few or no dead bees in or near the hives, an abandoned brood and stored food, and delayed invasion of hive pests. The potential causes of CCD are habitat destruction, the presence of pathogens and parasites, climate change, and high use of pesticides and adjuvants [2,5,6], as well as the scarcity of floral sources. Thus, the honeybee’s nutrition is an important mechanism to help in the development and maintenance of the colonies, being able to assist in the minimizing the CCD effects. The mineral supplementation with zinc (organic or inorganic source) for the colonies was able to modulate positively the glandular development in honeybees with 6-day-old-year, promoting the royal jelly production with better quality, verified by the greater proteins expression (protein spots) by proteomic analysis. The zinc supplementation too modulated the expression of important genes related the antioxidant and immunology system and sensorial perception. This results show that the management nutritional of the honeybees colonies are an important strategies to combat the CCD and to help the environmental and the pollination services that this insects promoting for the humanity.