During XXII A.I.O.L (Associazione Italiana di Oceanologia e Limnologia) Congress held in Verbania (Italy) from September 28th to October 1st, a poster entitled “Viable planktonic organisms transferred via ships’ ballast water into the Gulf of Trieste (NE Adriatic Sea)” and presented by Walter Dellisanti won the “the best poster award” reserved to young researchers.
Figure 1: Prof. Luigi Naselli Flores, President of AIOL, declarated Walter Dellisanti winner for the best poster award.
The research performed by Dellisanti and the other OGS (Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale) co-authors (Cinzia Fabbro, Federica Cerino, Alessandra De Olazabal, Elena Di Poi, Daniela Fornasaro, Antonio Montanari, Michele Giani and Marina Cabrini), was focused on sampling of 10 ships’ ballast tanks coming into the Port of Trieste (NE Adriatic Sea) in the framework of the BALMAS (Ballast water Management for Adriatic Sea protection) project, in order to estimate and identify viable phyto- and zooplankton organisms (see video here)and to assess the occurrence of potential pathogenic bacteria.
Figure 2: Walter Dellisanti at work during ballast water sampling.
Viable planktonic organisms were found in all ships’ ballast waters, confirming the role of BW as transfer mechanism for aquatic organisms. The results suggest that the taxonomic identification of planktonic organisms is fundamental to assess real risks concerning BW Exchange. The transfer of HAOP (Harmful Aquatic Organisms and Pathogens) and uncommon species by ships in the Gulf of Trieste could affect the coastal marine environment, leading unwanted ecological, economic and human-health effects.