Biological Oceanography and Marine Environmental Monitoring Laboratory

LOCATION: DISTAV Palazzo delle Scienze II e III piano, C.Europa 26 - Genova


The OceanLAB research group carries out in field research activities in several geographic areas (such as Antarctica, Mediterranean Sea, and Atlantic Ocean), both in coastal areas and in open ocean. Most of the outdoor activities are linked to the Portofino Promontory Marine Observatory (Portofino Promontory Marine Observatory | DISTAV ( in the framework of LTER-Italy (LTER-Italia) and concern the physical – chemical and biological characterization of the water column using in situ instruments moored to Meda Buoy together with water and plankton samplings, to better understand the changes in the first trophic levels of the marine environment and the factors of the changes.
The real time data and samples are gathered in the laboratory at DISTAV buildings where the Laboratory staff perform chemical and biochemical analyses (in example organic matter and inorganic nutrients), and planktonic organisms sorting and counting, following the suggested methodologies for environmental monitoring and oceanographic research (in example Marine Strategy - MSFD 2008/56/EC). 
The OceanLAB handles, validates and computerizes the data acquired by the observatory system, which are stored in an informative system, a dedicated WEB-GIS (, built on DB Postgres, with different kind of outputs following the OGC-SWE (Sensor Web Enablement) standards. The WEB-GIS structure agrees with the more updated international and European guidelines (European Ocean Observing System, EMODNET, EuroGOOS, ecc.) and it will be further improved according to the future needs of the research, the technological development and the marine coastal area management (Integrated Coastal Zone Management - ICZM and Marine Spatial Planning - MPS).


TEAM MEMBERS: Paolo Povero, Michela Castellano, Sarah Magozzi, Giulia Dapueto, Francesco Massa, Enrico Olivari.


The OceanLab is involved in the management of the DISTAV research vessel (R/V Veliger), made of a fiberglass hull, 8 meters length, equipped with a cartographic GPS and an echo sounder, an electric winch, an electric motor with dynamic positioning. It is allowed to navigate within 6 nautical miles, and it can operate also with ROV, multibeam and classic oceanographic instruments. It also operates continuous monitoring systems, also moored to oceanographic buoys. The OceanLAB is equipped with several multiparametric probes, water sampling systems (Niskin bottles and Rosette samplers), planktonic nets, filtration systems, Autoanalyser, Dosimat, Zooscan and microscopes, spectrophotometer and spectrofluorometer.

DISTAV research vessel (R/V Veliger) and Meda2 observatory - Portofino






Last update 3 March 2023