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Blooms & Environment: Science for Tovel - Studio sul mancato arrossamento del lago di Tovel (SALTO)
Page last updated: 26/05/2008


Overview go to indexgo upgo down
Lake Tovel (LT) represents one of the major attractions of the Adamello Brenta Natural Park (Trentino, Italy). The lake's international fame is associated with its past bright red summer blooms of the dinoflagellate Glenodinium sanguineum MARCH. (Gs), which virtually ended in 1964 after a century of documented happenings. The general aim of the project is acquiring, starting from what is already known about the phenomenon, all of the necessary information needed for an objective interpretation of the factors responsible for bloom disappearance in lake Tovel. The project, born of a need felt by the Trentino community, plans to construct a team capable of giving a scientifically valid explanation of bloom formation and its disappearance from lake Tovel. The project directly involves five Trentino Research Units (RU) working with 17 national and international Institutions with complementary specialisations. Activities are divided among six work packages (WP); in order to maximise group interactions, all RUs are participating in more than one WP.
WP1 - The anthropogenic landscape of Tovel valley: land use history and recent vegetation dynamics
Changes in land use, forestry management, alpine pasture and range management and their influence on lake ecology and bloom formation. This WP also includes all activities regarding public relations and communication during the project.
WP2 - Paleolimnology: long term changes in lake Tovel and its catchment
Reconstruction of the main changes in the lake and its catchment by means of the analysis of sediment cores of different length.
WP3 - Lake characterisation with particular regard to the interactions between Gs and the biological community and environmental factors
An in depth study of the limnological conditions of the lake for a better understanding of the interactions between environmental factors and the biological community and those conditions which determine the life cycle and dynamics of Gs in its natural setting.
WP4 - Geology, hydrogeology, hydrodynamics and meteorology of the lake and its catchment
The objective of this WP is the quantification of external events that could condition the development of the microorganism responsible for the reddening phenomenon.
WP5 - Gs taxonomy and physiology in vitro
The taxonomic position of Gs will be determined by classical and molecular techniques; the algae will be cultured in vitro for the production of biomass for pigment analysis, life cycle studies and for assays on nutrient, light, temperature, toxicity, etc.
WP6 - Studying Gs ecophysiology in situ by the use of enclosures
Several fundamental aspects of Gs life cycle will be studied in lake enclosures, for example phototactic movements and the ecophysiology of reddening formation.

Key words: limnology, hydrogeology, dinoflagellates

Project type: Applied and basic research

Project duration: thirty-six (36) months (end June 2004)
Participants go to indexgo upgo down
The project involves five local institutions organised in research units (UR). Each unit includes also different international scientific institutions with complementary expertise.

Scientific Coordinator
Istitution: Istituto Agrario di San Michele all'Adige (IASMA) external link
Name: Borghi Basilio

Institutions acting as Research Units and associated Institutions ( ) listed according to the acronym:
Acronym Institution and collaborators Role (associated)
BIDK Botanical Institute University of Copenhagen, ě. Moestrup e coll. (DK) (IASMA)
BIP Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche - Istituto di Dinamica Alpina di Bergamo, C. Ravazzi (I) (IASMA)
BIUI Botanical Institute University of Innsbruck, E. Rott e coll. (A) (IASMA)
CEA Centro Ecologia Alpina (I) (PNAB)
CNR-IBP Botanical Institute,Working group Palinology, K. Oeggl (DK) (DF-LBO1)
CNR-III Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche - Istituto Italiano di Idrobiologia di Pallanza, A. Lami, M. Manca, A. Marchetto, J. Masaferro (I) R. Bertoni e coll. (MTSN)
CNR-ITL Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche - Istituto Tecnologia del legno di Trento, G. Arrighetti (I) (IASMA)
DF-LBO1 Dipartimento di Fisica - Lab. di Chimica Bioorganica UniversitÓ di Trento, Graziano Guella (I) Research Unit
DICA Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile ed Ambientale, UniversitÓ di Trento, Aronne Armanini (I) Research Unit
DSFS Dipartimento di Scienze Filologiche e Storiche, UniversitÓ di Trento, G.M. Varanini, I. Franceschini (I) (PNAB)
EAWAG Swiss Federal Institute for Environmental Science and Technology Department of Surface Waters (SURF) / Sedimentology Section (CH) (MTSN)
IASMA Istituto Agrario di S. Michele all'Adige (I) Research Unit
IZPD Istituto di Zoologia UniversitÓ di Padova, G. Braioni (I) (IASMA)
LIUI Limnology Institute University of Innsbruck, R. Psenner e coll. (A) (IASMA)
MARD University of Marburg, K. Wenderoth (D) (IASMA)
MTSN Museo Tridentino di Scienze Naturali [ ], Michele Lanzinger (I) Research Unit
PNAB Parco Naturale Adamello Brenta [ ], Franco Viola (I) Research Unit
SERFO Servizi Foreste Provincia Autonoma di Trento (I) (PNAB)
SERPA Servizio Parchi e Foreste Demaniali - PAT, (I) (PNAB)
TESAF Dipartimento Territorio e Sistemi Agroforestali UniversitÓ di Padova, F. Viola, C. Urbinati, A. Zanella (I) (PNAB)
UNIPI-LP UniversitÓ di Pisa, Dipartimento di Etologia, Ecologia ed Evoluzione - Laboratorio di Protistologia, F. Dini (I) (DF-LBO1)
Road map, milestones and deliverables go to indexgo upgo down
Activities plan and deliverables
The activities have been subdivided in six work packages characterised by a general objective and specific task. In order to maximise the interaction between groups, each UR is involved in different WPs or tasks. Different level of coordination have been identified: responsible of UR, encharged of the management of the resources dedicated to the project; responsible of WP, with the role of project leader; responsible of tasks.
The project can be traced back to a specific request expressed by the local Trentino community. The challenge for scientists involved in the project is to form a team capable of providing a convincing explanation concerning the reddening phenomenon and the causes of it disappearance. The project represents one of the first examples of a co-ordinated and multidisciplinary approach for the investigation of a peculiar natural event. Moreover, it offers an unique opportunity to study algal blooms from a totally different perspective: those aspects that limit or inhibit bloom formation.
The project includes an in depth approach to environmental studies including the use of sophisticated methodologies and the acquisition of new scientific instruments with significant benefits for future environmental studies in Trentino. During the span of the project a new generation of young scientists will be trained in environmental sciences.
In the following table the deliverables for the various work packages (WP) and tasks are presented:
Activity Responsible Deliverables
WP1 i) TESAF, SFPAT Land planning and forestry management analysis; analysis of present forest use; reconstruction of past forest use; reconstruction of past soil use.
ii) IASMA Definition and pattern of recent past and present alpine pasture use.
iii) UNITN Long-term reconstruction of high alpine pasture use (XIV-XX centuries)
iv) PNAB Public relations, meetings with the public, posters, shows, guided tours, web pages
WP2 i) EAWAG High resolution sampling of long sediment cores. Sedimentological characteristics of the cores and chronology by means of laminations counts
ii) MTSN, CNR-III, IASMA / BIP Reconstruction of temporal changes of LT characteristics of particular relevance for reddening phenomenon (particularly trophic status) by means of the analysis of the remains of indicator organisms (diatoms, chrysophytes, chironomids). Reconstruction of the extension of pasture in lake surroundings by means of pollen analysis.
iii) IASMA Presence and quantities of the main algal nutrients, of heavy metals and of pesticides in the sediments.
iv) CNR-III / DF-LBO1, MTSN Reconstruction of the temporal evolution of Gs populations, in particular by means of the study of algal pigments and of Gs cysts. Confirmation of the increase of the red pigments in the sediments at the beginning of the 20th / end of the 19th century.
WP3 i) IASMA, CNR-III, LIAT Definition of the physical characteristics of the lake; interactions with Gslife cycle
ii) IASMA,MTSN, CNR-III, LIAT Definition of the chemical characteristics of the lake; interactions with Gslife cycle
Iii),iv) IASMA, MTSN, LIAT,UNIPD Distribution and evolution of plankton, benthon and littoral communities; interactions with Gs life cycle
v) IASMA, PNAB Fish fauna survey and its role in the lake's trophic web
WP4 i) MTSN Geological, geomorphological and structural geology surveys
ii) MTSN Hydrogeological surveys, tracing experiments
iii) MTSN Hydrometric and piezometric stations execution and calibration; hydrometrical and conductivity monitoring
iv) MTSN, IASMA Stables isotopes and geochemical analyses; isotope and geochemical model
v) IASMA Metereological data base organisation; installation meteo stations; meteo measurements, solar radiation and EPT measurements
vi) DICA Numerical models; data base organisation , calibration and refining of the hydrological simulations
vii) DICA Numerical Models; data base organisation and hidrothermodynamic simulations
viii) DICA, IASMA Calibration and refining of the atmospheric simulations; pollutant dispersion models
WP5 i) IASMA, BIDK Formation of IAMSA workers in microscopic techniques; partial definition of Gs taxonomic position; clarifying Gs taxonomic position; formation of IASMA in phylogenetic systematics; updating dinoflaggelate phylogenetic tree; redefinition of Gs taxonomic position; scientific articles
ii) BIDK, IASMA, DFLBO1 Defined culture medium for Gs; formation of IASMA personnel in algal culture techniques; scientific article; biomass production of Gs for biochemical and taxonomic work
iii) IASMA, BIAT, MARD, LPPI understanding of those environmental factors that influence Gs growth and pigment formation; scientific articles
WP6 i) MTSN Installation of different types of enclosures in the lake. Phosphorus enrichment of some structures, monitoring of the phytoplankton in the corrals, counts and micrographs to be carried out on the spot; investigations on the triggers (nutrients, UV radiation) considered responsible for the acumulation of carotenoids in Gs; sampling of large amounts of Gs for the chemical and photobiological analyses.
ii) DF-LBO1UNIPI-LP Qualitative and quantitative distribution of carotenoids and of other secondary metabolites in the different stages of the life cycle thanks to modern analytical, spectroscopic and chemical methods. Establishment of cultures of Gs starting from concentrated, virtually unialgal samples, obtained from the enclosures
Iii) CNR-IBP Photobiological characteristics of Gs in enclosures, in culture and of isolated pigments.