The Italian Long-Term Ecosystem Research (LTER-Italy) network: results, opportunities, and challenges for coastal transitional ecosystems


1 - The Long-Term Ecosystem Research (LTER) network, now a global reality, was founded on a combination of long-term ecological studies, short-term experiments, and comparisons among sites and eco-domains.
2 - The LTER-Italy network was officially established as a formal member of the LTER international network in 2006, following a wider on-going process in Europe; it currently consists of 22 sites representing the main ecosystem typologies of Italy. Four coastal transitional ecosystem sites are included in the LTER-Italy network: on the northern Peninsula, these include the Venice Lagoon and the lagoons of the Po River Delta, which are characterized by a temperate climate and the influence of tides; and in the southern sector, these include the coastal ecosystems of Sardinia and the Mar Piccolo of Taranto, which are characterized by a Mediterranean climate and the absence of sensible tides.
3 - In this paper, we present and discuss three main issues: (1) the LTER-International and LTER-Europe context, emphasising the most practical issues and activities that must be addressed for the effective organization and maintenance of LTER networks; (2) the history, structure, and perspectives of the national LTER-Italy network; and (3) the opportunities, strengths, and weaknesses related to participation of the LTER-Italy network in the study of coastal transitional ecosystems.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i1825229Xv7n1p43

Keywords: LTER-Italy; coastal transitional ecosystems; Venice Lagoon; Po River Delta; Sardinia costal ecosystems; Mar Piccolo of Taranto

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