WG Marine biodiversity

WG Marine biodiversity

The marine biodiversity lab is involved in the research of benthic flora and fauna, fish assemblage, mapping and assessment of the status of benthic habitat types, ecology of bioconstructors and non-indigenous species. Our working methods are a combination of traditional benthic sampling techniques and newly developed non-destructive SCUBA techniques. To assess the status of the sea according to WFD and MSFD, we are also developing new methodologies for some biological elements. Special interest is paid to the conservation of endangered marine species, with the identification of the causes for the regression of important habitat-builders. Particular attention is given to the development and testing of restoration actions, focused on the recolonization of vulnerable bioconstructors (such as corals, noble pen shell, brown algae and seagrasses). The lab includes specialists for different taxonomic groups.


Other activities


Fields of research and expertise


-  Comprehensive studies of marine biodiversity

-  Long term studies of the coastal fish fauna

-  Research of cartilaginous fish fauna

-  Monitoring of alien fauna and flora

-  Ecology of the Mediterranean Stony coral and biogenic formations

-  Studies on species recolonization and marine habitat restoration

-  Assessing the impact of climate change on local biota

-  Ecology of marine biodiversity of the Slovenian coastal wetlands

-  Fouling communities and their filtration efficiency

-  Mapping and monitoring of heterobranch gastropods

-  Studies on the lagoonary and euryhaline environments with special regards to its biodiversity

-  Feeding ecology of mesopredators of the northern Adriatic



-  Mapping and monitoring of habitat types

-  Inventarisation of marine fauna & flora

-  Mapping and monitoring alien fauna

-  Mapping and monitoring species, related to the process of tropicalisation and climate change



Staff members


Doc. dr. Martina Orlando Bonaca, head of the unit, researcher



prof. dr. Lovrenc Lipej, researcher



dr. Borut Mavrič, head of the Marine Biology Station Piran, researcher



dr. Valentina Pitacco, researcher



dr. Domen Trkov, researcher



Ana Fortič, researcher



Ana Lokovšek, young researcher






Interreg Italia/Slovenija

TRECap -  Trezze, tegnue and marine environments of the Upper Adriatic: Capitalisation

Leader: dr. Ana Fortič

Project duration: 1.9.2023 - 31.8.2025



Priprava strokovnih podlag za pripravo načrta upravljanja z morskim okoljem za obdobje 2028-2033 (NUMO III) – priprava in nadgradnja strokovnih podlag za posodobitev presoje stanja morskega okolja

Leader: dr. Martina Orlando Bonaca

Project duration: 25.4.2023- 29.3.2024


Cost Action CA20106

Leader: dr. Martina Orlando Bonaca in dr. Katja Klun

Project duration: 4. 10. 2021 - 3. 10. 2025


Leader: dr. Valentina Pitacco in dr. Domen Trkov

Project duration: 01. 10. 2021 – 30. 09. 2025



Monitoring of the Mediterranean Shag in the Slovenian Sea 2020-2021

Leader: prof. dr. Lovrenc Lipej
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food


Survey of the species richness and abundance of alien species in the Slovenian Sea

Leader: dr. Borut Mavrič

5.3.2018 – 5.6.2021


Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food

State of the art, assessment of the impact on the environment and the survey of possible actions to control the population of akliens species Mnemiopsis leidyi in the Slovenian Sea

Leader: dr. Borut Mavrič


Interreg MED
Sharing and enhancing capabilities to address environmental threats in Mediterranean sea
Leader: dr. Borut Mavrič



Interreg Italia/Slovenija


Rocky outcrops and coralligenous formations in the North Adriatic: enhancement and sustainable management in the Gulf of Trieste

Leader: dr. Martina Orlando Bonaca

14.10.2012 - 30.4.2015







ORLANDO-BONACA, M., PITACCO, V., LIPEJ, L. (2021). Loss of canopy-forming algal richness and coverage in the northern Adriatic Sea. Ecological indicators: integrating monitoring, assessment and management, 125, 107501, str. 1-11,  doi: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2021.107501.


ORLANDO-BONACA, M., LIPEJ, L., BONANNO, G. (2021). Non-indigenous macrophytes in Central Mediterranean ports, marinas and transitional waters: origin, vectors and pathways of dispersal. Marine pollution bulletin, 162, 111916, str. 1-19, doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2020.111916.


PALINKAS, C., MISTRI, M., STAVER, L., LIPEJ, L., KRUŽIĆ, P., STEVENSON, J. C., TAMBURRI, M., MUNARI, C., ORLANDO-BONACA, M. (2021) Status of critical habitats and invasive species. V: MALONE, Thomas C. (ur.), MALEJ, Alenka (ur.), FAGANELI, Jadran (ur.). Coastal ecosystems in transition : a comparative analysis of the northern Adriatic and Chesapeake Bay, (Geophysical monograph series). 1st ed. Hoboken: American Geophysical Union: Wiley. 2021, str. 177-202. doi: 10.1002/9781119543626.ch9.


AZZURRO, E., V. SBRAGAGLIA, J. CERRI, M. BARICHE,L. BOLOGNINI, J. BEN SOUISSI, G. BUSONI, S. COCO, A. CHRYSSANTHI, E. FANELLI, R. GHANEM, J. GARRABOU, F. GIANNI, F. GRATI, J. KOLITARI, G. LETTERIO, L. LIPEJ, C. MAZZOLDI, N. MILONE, F. PANNACCIULLI, A. PEŠIĆ, Y. SAMUEL‐RHOADS, L. SAPONARI, J. TOMANIĆ, N. NUR TOPÇU, G. VARGIU, P. MOSCHELLA (2019). Climate change, biological invasions, and the shifting distribution of Mediterranean fishes: A large‐scale survey based on local ecological knowledge. Global Change Biology, DOI: 10.1111/gcb.14670.


TRKOV, D. & L. LIPEJ (2019). Non-Destructive Method for Assessing the Feeding Habits of Coastal Fish. Mediterranean Marine Science, 20(2), 453-459.


ORLANDO-BONACA, M., PITACCO, V., SLAVINEC, P., ŠIŠKO, M., MAKOVEC, T., FALACE, A. (2021) First restoration experiment for Gongolaria barbata in Slovenian coastal waters: What can go wrong? Plants, 10(2), 239; doi: 10.3390/plants10020239.


KOVAČIĆ, M., L. LIPEJ & J. DULČIĆ (2020). Evidence approach to checklists: critical revision of the checklist of the Adriatic Sea fishes. Zootaxa, 4767 (1), https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4767.1.1


PITACCO, V., MISTRI, M., LIPEJ, L. (2019). Species-Area Relationship (SAR) models as tools for estimating faunal biodiversity associated with habitat builder species in sensitive areas : the case of the Mediterranean stony coral (Cladocora caespitosa). Marine environmental research, 149, 27-39, doi: 10.1016/j.marenvres.2019.05.016.


ORLANDO-BONACA, M., ROTTER, A. (2018). Any signs of replacement of canopy-forming algae by turf-forming algae in the northern Adriatic Sea? Ecological indicators: integrating monitoring, assessment and management, 87, 272-284, doi: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2017.12.059.


ZUNINO, S., PITACCO, V., MAVRIČ, B., ORLANDO-BONACA, M., KRUŽIĆ, P., LIPEJ, L. (2018). The ecology of the Mediterranean stony coral Cladocora caespitosa (Linnaeus, 1767) in the Gulf of Trieste (northern Adriatic Sea): a 30-year long story. Marine biology research, 14(3), 307-320, doi: 10.1080/17451000.2017.1408915.






Natural History Museum Rijeka, Croatia

prof. dr. Marcelo Kovačić


Zoologische Staatssammlung Munchen & Department Biologie II, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universtitet Munchen, Munchen, Germany

Prof. dr. Roland Meltzer


Faculty of Science. Department of biology, University of Zagreb, Croatia

prof. dr. Petar Kružić.


ARPA Friuli Venezia Giulia

dr. Nicola Bettoso


University of Trieste

prof. dr. Annalisa Falace


Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries, Split, Croatia

prof. dr. Jakov Dulčić


Institute for Marine biology, Kotor, Montenegro

dr. Vesna Mačić


University of Catania

dr. Giuseppe Bonanno


Ruđer Bošković Institute, Center for Marine Research, Rovinj, Croatia

dr. Ljiljana Iveša




Other activities


Involvement in the pedagogical process and  Mentorship:


FAMNIT, University of Primorska, Marine biodiversity, Biotic globalisation in seas and oceans, Marine Ecology,  Marine Zoology

University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty, Marine Ecology 

- University of Maribor, Faculty for natural sciences and mathematics, Marine Ecology

- Jožef Stefan International Postgraduate School, Ljubljana, Ichthyology and fishery biology



Editorial Boards:


- Annales for Istrian and Mediterranean Studies

- Acta Adriatica

- Natural and Engineering Sciences (NESciences)

- Acrocephalus

- Studia marina

- Natura Sloveniae