The museum of marine zoology is located in Chioggia, province of Venice, and owes its existence to one of the most illustrious naturalists of the 18th century, Giuseppe Olivi. He was born in 1769 and the differentiating aspect from his colleagues was the fact that in the world of zoology he also considered the economic and ecological aspects linked to marine organisms.
Index History of the collection of the Adriatic Marine Zoology Museum Museum structure Shark room Collection room Food web room Senses room Fishing traditions room
In 1792 he wrote a catalogue, the “ Adriatic Zoology ”, that is, a work with the various species that are present in the Venetian lagoon. This book is today a very important reference and is recommended to all people who want to dedicate themselves to the world of marine biology.
The museum, officially opened on February 5, 2011, has the largest collection of marine invertebrates in the Adriatic Sea area and works together with the University of Padua. An important aspect that I would like to highlight is that in all the rooms visitors can enter the marine world, seeing the physical-chemical characteristics of the sea and, in addition, understand and see the biodiversity of different environments, the fragility of marine ecosystems and the vulnerability of the species.
History of the collection of the Adriatic Marine Zoology Museum
The Adriatic marine zoology collection has a successful history, beginning in the second half of the 19th century in a marine research laboratory in Trieste.
The conservation of marine organisms began in this laboratory, helped by all the scientists in Europe. This biological station had to close when the First World War began and the collection was moved to Rovigno. After the Second World War he moved, once again, to Venice. Only in 1968 did it reach its final destination in the small marine biology station of Chioggia, strongly desired by the University of Padua.
In all these years the species were collected and the collection of marine organisms increased considerably. Until then there were about 1,258 samples that belonged to about 700 discovered species. To date, most of the species have been identified but there is a lot of work to do because many species have not been updated and due to lack of money it is not possible to continue with the research, the collection of species and logically their identification.
There are five rooms in the museum, each one specialized in a theme.
- shark room
- collection room
- food web room
- Senses room
- Fishing Traditions Room
In this room the visitor is exposed to some of the largest predators that can be found in the marine environment, such as the elephant shark. The specimen on display is a female about 8 meters long, caught by mistake near the coast of Chioggia in 2003 (fig.1). The animal was embalmed and today it is possible to admire the original skin of the specimen.
It is difficult to believe that an animal of this size could be threatened, but it is true to the point that it has been included in the IUCN red list, which prohibits the consumption, fishing and commercialization of animals.
Apart from the presence of this shark, in this room the different marine environments are present and the factors that threaten biodiversity are explained, inviting visitors to reflect on the importance of vulnerability of marine species, the excessive exploitation of marine resources. and the importance of sustainable management.
This room has 350 specimens from the historical collection of Trieste and Rovigno, a collection of marine animals from the Adriatic Sea of great value. Fish, sharks, rays, mollusks, echinoderms, sponges and crustaceans were collected between the 19th century and the Second World War in the Adriatic Sea and are displayed in some circular showcases. The animals are preserved in formaldehyde and that is why they have been preserved so well.
Visitors in this room can see the great variety of animals that have populated and continue to populate the Adriatic Sea. In each showcase there are some explanatory panels, describing the organism, its habitat and its diet.
food web room
In this room, the food web is explained. It is important to ask how a food chain works, what marine organisms eat and what food relationships are created between animal and plant organisms.
To all these questions we can say that energy and food pass from one organism to another, and it is essential to understand, at least in principle, the complexity of a marine ecosystem. Without going into details, it can be said that in this room there are some slides that in a practical and fun way explain the food web, showing the different animals and the teeth of the different ways in which the various animals can feed. Another important aspect in the food web is the difference between prey/predator.
This is a particular room, because there are some multimedia installations that help the visitor understand the sensory channels of marine organisms. Apart from the common senses, which we also have as a human species, these organisms have the ability to perceive an electric field, as in the case of sharks, which helps them in hunting and thanks to the organs present in the lateral line, the water movements caused by a school of sardines.
Fishing Traditions Room
In this last room, biology and ecology cease to be the protagonists and fishing and how the population has adapted to this resource comes into play. On the other hand, how marine life has changed in the last 150 years. Before the canals around Chioggia were full of fish of all sizes, while now we can see only fishing boats. Through the slides, you can see this revolution leaving visitors thinking about the abuse we do of marine resources.
How long will we continue to abuse the sea? We must begin to respect fishing stocks and the reproduction periods of the species if we want to continue fishing.
Without a doubt, this natural science museum is a must-see for all those who visit the area and are interested in the wonderful marine world.
Photos from: www.nuovascintilla.com, http://www.turismovenezia.it/Chioggia/Museo-di-Zoologia-Adriatica-Giuseppe-Olivi-243556.html, http://chioggia.scienze.unipd.it/museoolivi /home.html