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Published on 18-06-2021

The shapes of the lagoon and the balance between land and sea

The Lagoon is a complex transition environment, the result of the interaction between land and sea. The influence of the drainage basin overlooking the lagoon has always been fundamental for Venice, since the origins of the city, as much as the marine influence. The search for balance between the three components has led to continuous attention and interventions to ensure that the lagoon retains its peculiarities.

The management of coastal ecosystems, such as the Lagoon, requires a detailed and updated knowledge of the hydrodynamic and geomorphological conditions, of the evolutionary processes in progress, natural and / or induced by anthropic activities, and therefore cannot ignore the knowledge of the processes that occur at the interfaces land-lagoon and lagoon-sea, the effects of which involve the entire lagoon system.

Today, moreover, the operation of the MOSE system implies numerous potential impacts on the lagoon hydrodynamic circulation, on the physicochemical characteristics of the water inside the lagoon, on the tidal regimes, on the exchange of sea-lagoon sediments, on ecological and morphological processes. lagoons, on the life cycles of lagoon organisms and, as a whole, on the lagoon communities and ecosystems.

In particular, the variations in the biodiversity that characterizes the lagoon and supports fishing and aquaculture activities that are important for the entire upper Adriatic are intimately connected with the morphological changes of the system. It is therefore central to develop methods and applications for monitoring that can evaluate the changes taking place simultaneously in terms of morphology, habitat and biotic communities resulting from the operation of the MOSE system. The information acquired during the implementation phase of the regulation works must be integrated with new observations that allow the understanding of the current trends and the effects of the management strategies.

The Venezia2021 Program integrates and enhances forecasting and modeling tools developed and tested over decades of research on the lagoon and presents an integrated and multidisciplinary approach focused on the lagoon-land and lagoon-sea interfaces, but which also includes the hydrodynamic, biogeochemical and internal morphological dynamics to the lagoon, while also monitoring the variations at community level (microbial, benthic, planktonic and neectonic) in relation to the variations of the lagoon morphology and habitat changes. From a methodological point of view, a combination of field observations, very high resolution instrument surveys, remotely sensed observations from autonomous air vehicles and satellites will be used. The research also involves the use and integration of information collected by the various monitoring networks already in place on the drainage basin, the lagoon and the coastal strip, with the addition of specific measures collected ad hoc and the development of operational systems to management support.

DANUBIUS-RI, the International Center for Advanced Studies on River-Sea Systems, of which CORILA is a part, is an environmental research infrastructure distributed on the roadmap of the European Strategic Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI). DANUBIUS-RI’s vision is to create healthy river-sea systems and promote their sustainable use by offering a cutting-edge integrated research infrastructure from the source of the river to the sea; facilitating excellent interdisciplinary science and providing the integrated knowledge necessary to manage and protect river-sea systems.

Among the research priorities for the first five years of DANUBIUS-RI’s activity are “Quantity of water: understanding and quantifying the reserves and flows of water through sea-river systems to enable sustainable management of water resources and mitigate extreme events ”and“ Sediment balancing: understanding and quantifying sediment dynamics in a source-to-mouth system to manage sediments sustainably in the river-sea continuum ”. The “Delta del Po and Lagune del Nord Adriatico” have been selected as the Italian supersite, and CORILA will be the Host Institution.

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