This area of research aims to understand, and mitigate, the consequences of human impact on marine ecosystems and biota and assess the health of the sea. The objectives are pursued through a plurality of approaches, which include the integrated assessment of the impacts, the monitoring of environmental quality, also using innovative survey methodologies and protocols (biomarker, -omics), the use of WebGis and big data, the development of observational systems, the analysis of the accumulation and persistence of pollutants in the marine biota, and the study of marine noise produced by anthropogenic activities and its interactions with sensitive species. Other researches are aimed at studying the distribution and fate of plastics (including micro- and nano-plastics) in the sea and their accumulation in marine organisms, and at the development of actions and technologies such as tests of alternative materials to plastics in fishery and aquaculture, and development of pilot experiments for the reconversion and reuse of plastics collected during fishing activities with a view to circular economy.
To protect and maintain/restore the biodiversity and ecosystems of the Lesina Lagoon through management, maintenance/restoration and integrative monitoring of the NATURA 2000 site affected by fishing activities and through a participatory approach among stakeholders (policy makers, researchers, fishermen) who share responsibilities and interests on the lagoon ecosystem.
The research activities of the Institute are carried out in the context of research, development and innovation projects, both national and international, based on regional funding programs (POR FEAMPA - Regional Operational Program of the European Maritime Affairs Fisheries Fund and Aquaculture and POR FESR - Regional Operational Program of the European Regional Development Fund) or ministerial (PRIN - Projects of relevant national interest, PNRA - National Research Program in Antarctica, PO FEAMPA - National Operational Program European Maritime Affairs Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund) , programs for European Territorial Cooperation (Interreg), direct funding programs of the European Commission (Horizon2020 and Horizon Europe, Life, JPI - Joint Programming Initiatives, ERA-NET Cofund) and thematic collaboration initiatives managed by international organizations such as, for example , the FAO - GFCM (General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean). The Institute also develops funded projects in the context of collaborations with private companies in the sectors of the blue economy as well as technology transfer and research results. Research projects, mainly of a collaborative nature, are developed through a wide network of partners that include major Italian and foreign research institutions and universities.