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CODE 65662
  • 2 cfu during the 2nd year of 9916 SCIENZE AMBIENTALI E NATURALI (L-32) - GENOVA
  • 2 cfu during the 2nd year of 10723 BIOLOGIA ED ECOLOGIA MARINA (LM-75) - GENOVA
  • 2 cfu during the 2nd year of 10723 BIOLOGIA ED ECOLOGIA MARINA (LM-6) - GENOVA
    LANGUAGE Italian
  • SEMESTER 2° Semester


    The aim of the module is to understand the wide variety of disciplines (from Oceanography, to Geology and Biology) that adopt underwater sampling techniques for scientific research. The module describes the main existing techniques and the available means that allow researchers to perform their activities in the submerged marine environment, and has also the aim of defining the role and the importance of underwater scientific diving to study the marine environment.



    The module aims to provide knowledge on the meaning and the role of underwater scientific diving in the various disciplines of environmental and natural sciences. In particular, the module has the following main objectives: 1) Define the methods for the human penetration underwater; 2) Distinguish autonomous or tied, manned or remote controlled, normobaric or hyperbaric means; 3) Identify the characteristics of scientific diving in the various types of underwater activities: physical and chemical oceanography, geology, biology and ecology; 4) Introduce the current situation of the regulations for scientific diving at national, community and international level.


    Class attendance will allow the student acquiring the knowledge necessary to understand the existing techniques, both from a historical and a current point of view, which allow researchers to perform their activities in a submerged marine environment. All the means available to penetrate underwater will be described, both with land-based and ship-based approaches, autonomous or remotely controlled. The characteristics of the underwater scientific diving in the various disciplines will be explained (physical and chemical Oceanography, Geology, Biology and Ecology) and the importance and necessity of scientific diving to study the marine environment will be highlighted. A part of the module will also focus on issues related to "safety during work", risk assessment in scientific diving, and training.


    No special requirements are required to attend the module. A basic knowledge on the techniques and characteristics of scuba diving is not necessary, but the module itself will include an introduction to the main techniques of autonomous scuba diving in underwater science.


    The module consists of lectures in presence, for a total of 16 hours. During classes some examples of instruments for sampling underwater will be shown. Lectures in the classroom are delivered through multimedia presentations. As there is no reference text adopted, class attendance is strongly recommended. The student can make use of the material made available on Aulaweb.

    Please refer to the specific AulaWeb application for this module for any updates due to changes in the health and epidemiological situation, and for all the other updates.


    The program of the module includes:
    Definition of scientific diver and underwater researcher. Human penetration under the sea. Techniques of shallow and deep waters. Autonomous or constrained means, manned or remotely controlled, normobaric or hyperbaric. AUV and submarines. Rigid articulated diving helmet, diver with helmet. Autonomous diving techniques. Snorkeling and ARA; other gases: O2 (ARO) and mixtures (Nitrox, Heliox, Hydrox, Trimix) normoxic and hypoxic. Operation of air breathing apparatus. Elements of underwater technique: problems related to depth (O2, N2) and time (N2, consumption); implications for the planning of scientific diving. Characteristics of scientific diving in the context of types of underwater activity. Nautical means for underwater scientific research. Qualifications of an oceanographic vessel and a minor boat. Ship-based approaches and land-based approaches. Surface techniques: sampling, inspection. Dredgers, buckets, core drills: type and operation; Applicability to underwater use. ROV qualifications and towed cameras. Autonomous scuba diving. Type and use of the underwater slate; basic instruments for underwater research. Underwater activities in the various scientific disciplines: areas and specificities. Physical and chemical oceanography: current measurement, underwater optics, water sampling. Portable units. Accessibility and specificity criteria in the approach to underwater habitats. Geology: topography, clinometry, morphometry, sedimentology, ripple-marks, penetrometry. Underwater portable sonars. Biology and ecology. Scientific diving in the study of the pelagic environment and in the benthos. Qualitative, quantitative and semi-quantitative surveys. Numerical descriptors: biomass and bio-volume; abundance and density; cover; frequency. Destructive methods, non-destructive methods. Scraping. Air-suction. Photographic sampling. Visual methods: squares and transects. Depth transects and parallel transects. Types of parallel transects: Line Intercept Transect (LIT), Point Intercept Transect (PIT); Chain Transect (CT); Belt Transect (BT). National, EU and international regulations for underwater scientific diving. Training and updating. Operating procedures. Technical and psychophysical requirements. Civil liability. Eligibility, insurance, certificates, dive books. Coordination of scientific diving within the European Union. Notes on the Legislative Decree 626/94 "Safety in the Workplace". Risk assessment in scientific diving. Good practices for safe underwater activities by ISPRA and Environmental Agencies.


    The adoption of a reference text is not envisaged. Available (downloadable from Aulaweb) a copy of the presentations used during classes (in pdf), didactic material and scientific articles for further information.

    The following texts can be consulted for some parts of the module program:

    1) Gambi M.C., Doppiano M. (Eds.) 2003. Manuale di metodologia di campionamento e studio del benthos marino mediterraneo. Biologia Marina Mediterranea10 (s), 638 pp.

    2) Colantoni P. 2007 L’immersione scientifica. Tecniche di indagine subacquea. Editrice La Mandragora, Imola.




    The module will start in the second semester. The chalendar of classes will be defined between the lecturer and the students during a meeting scheduled at the beginning of the second semester.

    Class schedule




    The final evaluation consists of an oral exam. The oral exam consists of 2 or 3 questions asked by the lecturer on topics covered during the teaching.

    Please refer to the specific AulaWeb application for this modue for any updates due to changes in the health and epidemiological situation.


    Details on how to prepare for the exam and the degree of detail required for each topic will be provided at the beginning of the module and confirmed during classes. The oral exam will mainly focus on the topics covered during the lectures and will aim to assess the achievement of the appropriate level of knowledge. The ability to present the topics clearly and with correct terminology will also be evaluated.

    Exam schedule

    Date Time Location Type Notes
    22/02/2023 14:00 GENOVA Orale
    13/06/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
    12/07/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
    05/09/2023 14:00 GENOVA Orale
    19/09/2023 14:00 GENOVA Orale


    Regular class attendance is strongly recommended as a reference text is not used for this teaching. During classes, examples of instruments for underwater sampling will also be shown.