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Università degli Studi di Padova

Department of Biology

The Ascidian Biology group at the Department of Biology, University of Padova, is participating in the DeuteroNoise project with the coordination and management role. The research group also has the role of analyzing the effects of low frequency noise in the tunicate ascidians, the sea squirts, one of the groups of marine invertebrate deuterostomes studied in DeuteroNoise.

In a first phase, the research group will collaborate with the Milano Bicocca acoustic team on campaigns aimed to identify and measure the soundscape of two sites (noisy and not noisy) in the Venice Lagoon. Then, the team will participate in the experimental set-up of tools to reproduce the maritime noise in laboratory conditions, in order to test its effects on a panel of solitary and colonial ascidians.

The noise effects will be studied on animal development, on immune response, and on sensory and nervous systems, by using different methodological approaches, such as behavioral tests, light and electron microscopy, in vitro cell tests, and transcriptomics. The latter technique will be used to identify differentially expressed gene in the tested species and develop a diagnostic toolkit (Noisome) able to recognize the noise induced stress on animals.

This toolkit will be also tested using ascidians collected in the noisy site of the Venice Lagoon. These data will be useful to policy makers to propose actions aimed to reduce the impact of noise pollution in European seas. To maximize the exploitation of its results and reach researchers, policy makers, stakeholders and citizens, the research group will be committed in a variety of dissemination initiatives.

The group will actively collaborate with teams from the University of Genova and from CNR of Venice that will work on the Adriatic Sea using as model species the cephalochordate amphioxus.